New York state is on catastrophe alert because of the spread of the polio virus, which causes polio. Not only parents should be alarmed. Because childhood diseases like these can be extremely dangerous for adults.

Thanks to vaccination, polio was actually considered eradicated in western industrialized nations. Also in the US. But now the disease is on the rise again. After a few cases this summer, authorities in more and more counties are finding poliovirus in sewage. That’s why the disaster alarm was called.

The health authority therefore urged all insufficiently or not vaccinated residents to be immunized. Even if the infection is asymptomatic in many people, the polio virus can affect the nervous system, causing paralysis and death. And not only in children, but also in adults. Because the disease cannot be cured, there is no medicine against it. Only with a lot of luck does it heal on its own and the paralysis disappears.

But polio isn’t the only childhood disease that adults shouldn’t take lightly. Numerous other infectious diseases that occur in children are also a serious threat in adulthood. Here are the most common:

Measles is a highly contagious viral infection that can also affect adults. According to “”, 95 out of 100 people fall ill when they come into contact with the pathogen if they have not yet had the disease or have not been vaccinated.

Flu-like symptoms including fever appear first, followed later by whitish patches in the mouth and a reddish rash that spreads all over the body.

What is dangerous about measles is the complications that can arise: from pneumonia to encephalitis, which can become chronic. This subacute sclerosing panencephalitis, SSPE for short, is the most feared late effect of a measles disease. It often occurs years after the illness and damages the brain as it progresses. Severe mental impairments and paralysis are the result. SSPE often ends fatally.

Adults and children under the age of five are particularly at risk of complications from measles.

The childhood disease mumps is caused by the virus of the same name. It manifests itself with exhaustion, headaches and body aches and leads to inflammation and swelling of the parotid glands, which can occur on one or both sides.

A third of the infections go unnoticed – especially in children under five years of age. However, the risk of complications increases with age. According to the Federal Ministry of Health, 10 percent of sufferers develop meningitis. Less than 1 percent can get encephalitis, which can cause permanent damage such as paralysis and even death.

Post-puberty boys and adult males are also at risk of testicular inflammation, which in rare cases can also lead to infertility. In girls and women, the mammary glands and, more rarely, the ovaries can become inflamed.

Rubella is also a viral and highly contagious childhood disease. If it is mostly harmless in childhood, it can become dangerous in adulthood. In pregnant women in particular, the infection can lead to serious organ damage in the unborn child.

If 50 percent of the children are infected without symptoms, the other half develop cold-like symptoms and the typical red rash that spreads from the face to the whole body.

In adults, the disease can be much more severe and also lead to complications such as bronchitis, otitis media, in rare cases even inflammation of the heart muscle, pericardium or encephalitis.

This highly contagious disease is caused by the varicella-zoster virus. It usually causes headaches and body aches, as well as fever and the typical itchy rash that can appear all over the body.

In adults, an infection is much more severe and carries more risks, such as pneumonia. Meningitis and encephalitis can also occur in rare cases.

Another disadvantage: Anyone who is ill is immune for life – but the virus lies dormant in the body and can cause shingles later in life.

Whooping cough (pertussis) is also a highly contagious childhood disease, which is considered one of the most common respiratory diseases worldwide. It is caused by bacteria that create toxins in the body and attack the mucous membranes and airways. The result is a dry and protracted cough that can last up to six weeks. The cough can lead to spasmodic coughing fits, especially at night, which are often accompanied by vomiting and numerous other symptoms.

According to the Robert Koch Institute, these spasmodic coughing fits are less common in adults, but the coughing persists for a long time. The infection is often not recognized correctly and, for example, confused with a dry cough. Without proper treatment, there is a risk that the bacteria will spread throughout the body and lead to further inflammation.

Whooping cough can be life-threatening, especially for infants and older people with previous illnesses, as it can lead to serious complications such as inflammation of the lungs, middle ear and even brain. In rare cases, breathing pauses can also damage the brain.