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Vaccine-Preventable Diseases

Narrative

The number of reported cases of vaccine-preventable diseases has generally decreased over the past several decades. In 2009, there were no reported cases of diphtheria, polio, or smallpox in the United States, and no cases of tetanus or of rubella (German measles) among children under 5 years of age.

From 2008 to 2009, the number of reported cases of hepatitis A, measles, 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, and 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.

The number of cases of pertussis (or whooping cough) and mumps among children aged 0 to 4 years increased between 2008 and 2009 from 3,468 to 5,189 and from 60 to 141, respectively. 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 has been documented primarily in New York and New Jersey.1 Reported cases of hepatitis B and H. influenzae remained relatively unchanged from 2008 to 2009.

1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Mumps Outbreaks. Accessed: April 30, 2012.

Graph

This image is described in the Data section.

vaccine preventable disease among children graph

Data

Reported Cases of Selected Vaccine-Preventable Diseases Among Children 0-4 Years, 2009

Number of Reported Cases:

  • Diphtheria: 0
  • Polio: 0
  • Tetanus: 0
  • Rubella: 0
  • Hepatitis B: 5
  • Measles: 29
  • Mumps: 141
  • Hepatitis A: 61
  • Meningococcal Disease: 206
  • H. Influenzae: 449
  • Pertussis: 5189

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Summary of notifiable diseases—United States, 2009. Accessed: April 30, 2012.