Vaccine Programs Reduce or Eliminate 13 Major Diseases

Analysis of U.S. data shows dramatic declines in morbidity, mortality, hospitalizations

TUESDAY, Nov. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Cases of 13 vaccine-preventable diseases have been dramatically reduced and in some cases eliminated by vaccination programs in the United States, researchers report in the Nov. 14 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Sandra W. Roush, M.P.H., of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues collected a variety of historical and contemporary public health data to assess baseline and recent morbidity and mortality for diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, poliomyelitis, measles, mumps, rubella (including congenital rubella syndrome), invasive Haemophilus influenzae type b, acute hepatitis B, hepatitis A, varicella, Streptococcus pneumoniae and smallpox.

The number of cases and the number of deaths of most vaccine-preventable diseases targeted since 1980 declined by 80 percent or more. Cases of diphtheria, mumps, pertussis and tetanus declined by more than 92 percent and deaths from those diseases declined by 99 percent. In the United States, endemic transmission of poliovirus, measles, rubella and smallpox has been eliminated. Cases and deaths of invasive S. pneumoniae have declined by 34 percent and 25 percent, respectively.

"Vaccines are one of the greatest achievements of biomedical science and public health," the authors conclude. "Continued efforts to improve the efficacy and safety of vaccines and vaccine coverage among all age groups will provide overall public health benefit."

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