Vaccines Cut Diseases to Record Lows

CDC Researchers Report New Low in Cases of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases

Medically Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD on November 13, 2007
From the WebMD Archives

Nov. 13, 2007 -- Most vaccine-preventable diseases are rarer than ever in the U.S., CDC researchers reported today.

They tracked reported cases, deaths, and hospitalizations for 13 diseases that have vaccines recommended by the CDC since before 2005.

Consider these findings from 2006:

  • A 92% drop in cases and 99% or greater drop in deaths for diphtheria, mumps, pertussis (whooping cough), and tetanus, compared to pre-vaccination days.
  • Smallpox has been eliminated worldwide.
  • Polio has been eliminated in the U.S.

Measles, rubella, and congenital rubella syndrome also show a drop of at least 99% in the number of reported U.S. cases in last year.

Newer vaccines are also making a dent in diseases. Here's a quick look at how cases have declined since the CDC recommended vaccines against these diseases:

  • Invasive Haemophius influenzae type b (Hib): cases down nearly 100%
  • Hepatitis A: cases down 87%
  • Hepatitis B: cases down 80%
  • Invasive pneumococcal disease: cases down 34%
  • Varicella (chickenpox): cases down 85%

The researchers -- who included Sandra Roush, MT, MPH -- don't want anyone taking that progress for granted.

It's important to keep your vaccinations up to date -- and remember, vaccines aren't just for kids.

In fact, Roush's team suggests that teens and adults, in particular, have room for improvement in their immunization record.

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SOURCES: Roush, S. The Journal of the American Medical Association, Nov. 14, 2007; vol 298: pp 2155-2163. WebMD Medical News: "Adult Vaccination: New Guidelines."

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