Before there were vapes, there was sulfanilamide. One of the first great medicines of the antibiotic era, sulfanilamide was a miracle drug at a time when curing pneumonia with a quick trip to the pharmacy seemed akin to walking on water. When a sweet, raspberry-flavored liquid version appeared in stores in early September of 1937, it was a no-brainer prescription for doctors whose sick young patients were still picky enough they might reject even Jesus himself if he returned in the form of a bitter-tasting pill.
At the end of February, a team of researchers submitted a paper to the medical journal The Lancet that predicted the top 25 U.S. counties most at risk for measles in 2019. Now, almost halfway through what is on track to be the nation’s worst year for measles outbreaks since 1992, their study is looking rather prescient. Of the counties named in the paper, published in May, 14 have had cases of measles. At least 12 counties on the list are adjacent to counties that have ended up with measles cases this year. This includes two of the counties in the largest ongoing outbreak: Nearly 500 confirmed cases in Queens and Kings counties, New York.