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Vaccine-Preventable Diseases

Narrative

The number of reported cases of vaccine-preventable diseases among children has generally decreased over the past several decades. In 2008, there were no reported cases of diphtheria, polio, or smallpox in the United States, and no cases of tetanus among children under 5 years of age. There were 5 cases of rubella (German measles) among children aged 0-4 years.

From 2007 to 2008, the number of reported cases of hepatitis A, mumps, and meningococcal disease decreased among children under 5 years of age. The overall incidence of hepatitis A began dropping dramatically once routine vaccination for children living in high-risk areas was recommended beginning in 1996. Furthermore, in 2005, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) instituted the recommendation that all children be immunized for hepatitis A starting at 1 year of age. The latter recommendation was made because two-thirds of cases were occurring in States where the vaccine was not currently recommended. With regard to pertussis (or whooping cough), the number of cases among children aged 0-4 years increased from 2,746 in 2007 to 3,468 in 2008. According to the CDC, pertussis occurs cyclically and decreases in the incidence of the disease may not be due to increases in immunization rates. The highest reported rate occurred among infants under 6 months of age, a population that is too young to be fully vaccinated. In 2006, the United States experienced a multi-state outbreak of mumps, primarily in Midwestern states. In the following two years, the number of reported cases returned to usual levels; however, beginning in July 2009, another outbreak was documented primarily in New York and New Jersey.1 Reported cases of hepatitis B and H. influenzae remained relatively unchanged from 2007 to 2008.

1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Mumps Outbreaks. Accessed March 2011.

Graphs

This image is described in the Data section.

vaccine preventable disease among children graph

Data

Reported Cases of Selected Vaccine-Preventable Diseases Among Children Aged 0-4 Years, 2008

Number of Reported Cases:

  • Diphtheria: 0
  • Polio: 0
  • Tetanus: 0
  • Hepatitis B: 3
  • Rubella: 5
  • Measles: 48
  • Mumps: 60
  • Hepatitis A: 66
  • Meningococcal Disease: 284
  • H. Influenzae: 437
  • Pertussis: 3468

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Summary of notifiable diseases—United States, 2008. MMWR 2010;57(54):1-94.


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