"Measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella
During the Revolutionary War and the Civil War, measles was one of the principal causes of death among troops. Measles and secondary pneumonias in 1917 led to 48,000 hospitalizations and 1 million lost work days and represented 30 percent of all Army deaths, including combat deaths (44, 137, 138). During 1917 and early 1918, measles and mumps were leading causes of hospitalization and days lost from active service by members of the American Expeditionary Force in Europe (17, 44, 137, 139). During World War II, measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella accounted for over 300,000 hospital admissions or restrictions to quarters (140, 141). Even into the 1970s, measles and rubella caused a substantial number of hospitalizations and lost training time at basic training centers (90).
In 1961, Paul Parkman and his colleagues at WRAIR were codiscoverers of the rubella virus, isolating the virus among trainees at Fort Dix (4, 141). Vaccines to prevent measles, mumps, and rubella were licensed in the United States between 1963 and 1969. The Armed Forces Epidemiologicial Board (AFEB) helped to fund development of an attenuated measles vaccine (142). Indeed, the AFEB represented a major national source of grant funding for military and civilian biomedical researchers from the 1940s to the 1970s (10, 11, 53).
For military trainees, rubella vaccine was adopted first, in 1972, with measles vaccine added in 1980 to immunize those who evaded infection as children (10, 143, 144). Mumps outbreaks were less common than were the other two diseases, so mumps immunization was not uniformly adopted until 1991 (11, 145). A varicella policy of screening and as-needed immunization was also adopted in 1991 (11). The Food and Drug Administration licensed varicella vaccine in 1995. Now that a large proportion of basic trainees enter military service immune to these infections because of childhood immunization, the Services are increasingly testing for antibody and exempting those already immune (11, 146–152)."