National Geographic : 1970 Nov
The mother got over her rubella in three days. Unfortunately,her unborn child didn't. To pregnant mothers, rubella (German measles) means a few days in bed, a sore throat, a runny nose, temperature, and a rash. But if they're in their first month when they catch it, there's a 40% chance that to their unborn babies it can mean deafness, or a heart condition, or brain damage, or cataracts which cause at least partial blindness. Only last year, an immuniza tion against rubella became avail able. But when a pregnant mother gets immunized, the prevention may be as harmful to her baby as the disease. So if unborn babies are going to be protected, it will have to be by inoculating the kids who infect the mothers who in turn infect the fetuses. And it will have to be done now. You see, rubella epidemics break out every six to nine years. The last outbreak was in 1964. Which means the next one is due any day now. In the last epidemic, 20,000 babies were deprived of a normal childhood-and 30,000 more de prived of any childhood at all because no immunization existed. It would be unforgivable if the same thing happened again be cause an immunization existed and nobody used it. J Metropolitan Life We sell life insurance. But our business is life. For a free booklet about immunization, write One Madison Avenue, N.Y., N.Y . 10010.