Colleges battling childhood illnesses

Filed under: Health & Safety: Babies, Medical Conditions, In The News, Day Care & Education

A couple of highly contagious disease outbreaks at two different American universities are making headlines.

A mumps outbreak in Maine prompted school officials at the University of Southern Maine to ban students who didn't meet the latest mumps vaccination requirements from attending class. Of the 426 people on that list, 20 had declined the shots for religious reason. So far, one USM student had the mumps, but has recovered. There may be two other student cases, but it has not been confirmed.

Mumps causes painful swelling of a gland in the neck. The illness is generally more severe when contracted during adulthood and can rarely result in: infection of other organs, hearing loss, meningitis, encephalitis, fertility and sub-fertility problems. Dying from mumps is very unusual.

An outbreak of whooping cough forced the fall semester at Bob Jone University to wrap up a week earlier than planned. Twelve students are confirmed to have the bacterial infection, while another four cases are suspected. The private Christian university will require all 4,200 of its students have a current whooping cough vaccination before they can return next semester. Already about 2,000 of them have received the immunization, officials said.

Whooping cough (also known as pertussis) is characterized by severe coughing spells that end with a wheezing sound when the person inhales. Before vaccinations were available, pertussis killed 5,000 to 10,000 Americans a year.

I don't understand how any organization can require vaccinations, especially if they've been declined due to religious reasons.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.