Episodes of vaccine-preventable diseases in childhood can lead to health consequences later in life.
Key Evidence: More than one-third of children under one year of age in a US study, admitted to a pediatric intensive care unit for critical pertussis had significantly abnormal scores on the Mullen Scales of Early Learning, especially in the area of language development. These children also had a significantly lower mean score for all areas of the test, including cognitive and motor development. This indicates the need for routine neuro-development screening of child survivors of critical pertussis.
From the VoICE Editors: The Mullen Scales of Early Learning assesses cognitive and motor development [Gross Motor, Visual Reception, Fine Motor, Expressive Language, and Receptive Language] in children. The Mullen test is generally used for evaluating intellectual development and readiness for school.
Key Evidence: Those who experienced more frequent or longer episodes of diarrhea as an infant were more likely to have metabolic syndrome as adults. A longitudinal study in Guatemala found that diarrhea episodes in early infancy are associated with chronic health issues later in life. Each 1% increase in diarrhea burden in children 0-6 months was associated with a 3% increased prevalence in high blood pressure in adulthood. Similarly, a 1% increase in diarrhea burden in older infants 6-12 months was associated with a 4% increased prevalence in elevated waist circumference in adulthood.
Key Evidence: In a study of data from England & Wales, Denmark and the US, it was shown that measles infection suppresses the immune system for up to 3 years after infection, increasing the risk of death due to other childhood infections during that time. This means that prevention of measles significantly impacts overall health during critical childhood years.