The sixty's were a time of incredible change in this country and throughout the world. There was the Vietnam War, the Beatles, the assignation of President John Kennedy, and the beginnings of a drug culture that remains prevalent to this day. So the measles vaccine is a somewhat small footnote in the history of the 1960's. However, the medical discoveries of that time in regards to viruses and vaccines were very important in the world of medicine. Although the measles vaccine and HIV Aids virus are very different problems the roads to discovering a cure are similar. .
Among the major world epidemics the measles has been greatly underrated. The measles drew attention when overall interest in children increased in the 1960's. Measles is so contagious that it is passed by casual contact and the host may give it to someone else before the symptoms occur. The exact nature of the disease was determined as far back as 1875 by a Danish doctor named P.L. Panum. He determined that the Measles incubation period was 13-14 days, and that one attack confers life long immunity.
A virus is an infectious agent made almost entirely nucleic acid; they are so small that they can only be seen using an electron microscope. Viruses are non-living assemblages of protein molecules, either ribonucleic or deoxyribonucleic acid that can replicate themselves only within the cell of their host. Viruses are known to cause many infectious diseases, examples include diseases such as chicken pock, influenza, hepatitis, and of course the measles. Viruses were discovered at the end of the nineteenth century when scientist begun to understand the role that microorganisms played in the spread of many diseases. In the nineteen thirty's scientist discovered many different techniques of the study of viruses, including methods to grow viruses in mice and chicken embryo's, which allowed the study of the viral infections under controlled laboratory conditions.