vaccines

A highly contagious disease was sweeping across the United States. Thousands of children were sick and some were dying. In the midst of this outbreak, health officials did something that experts say had never been done before and hasn't been done since: They forced parents to vaccinate their children.

It sounds like something that would have happened 100 years ago. But this was 1991 — and the disease was measles.

Karoly Arvai/Reuters

For all the families out there still vaccinating their kids maybe what they need is a headdress declaring their stance. Perhaps something that would really stand out and say, "I'm a concerned parent, and I don't want my kids to get sick and die."

Maybe a giant hat or a wig would do the trick? Sounds crazy, but that tactic seemed to work in France in the 18th century during a scourge of smallpox.

The ongoing measles outbreak linked to Disneyland has led to some harsh comments about parents who don't vaccinate their kids. But Juniper Russo, a writer in Chattanooga, Tenn., says she understands those parents because she used to be one of them.

"I know what it's like to be scared and just want to protect your children, and make the wrong decisions," Russo says.

Carl Krawitt has watched his son, Rhett, now 6, fight leukemia for the past 4 1/2 years. For more than three of those years, Rhett has undergone round after round of chemotherapy. Last year he finished chemotherapy, and doctors say he is in remission.

Now, there's a new threat, one that the family should not have to worry about: measles.

Sara Pang / KBIA

Dr. Robert Gallo is the biomedical researcher who unearthed HIV as the cause of AIDS and was the first to identify a human retrovirus known to cause human cancer. Gallo’s discoveries don’t just stop there; his current research includes finding a prevention for the disease despite the challenges.

Case of whooping cough at Hickman High School

Dec 3, 2012
School playground shadow
/ Dreamstime

The 15th case of whooping cough has been reported in Boone County. Columbia Public Schools are working to prevent further cases of whooping cough after a confirmed case in the school district.

missourischoolnurses.org

The Missouri Association of School Nurses is urging parents to get their children vaccinated against meningitis.

The association is among several health groups across the country urging meningococcal vaccination. A new report says only about half of Missouri's teens are vaccinated against the disease.

Meningitis is rare, but often deadly. It can be spread through common school activities such as sharing water bottles and drinking glasses. Ten percent of those who contract it die, sometimes within a day.

Remaking school lunches

Dec 8, 2011
Clay Masters / Harvest Public Media

This week on the show: your child's school lunches aren't likely to get much healthier anytime soon. Plus: why you should still get the flu vaccine.