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Childhood Vaccines Save Lives, March Of Dimes Says
Date:1/29/2008

g infections such as polio, whooping cough, and rubella (German measles). Before the development of vaccines, thousands of babies and children died or were seriously disabled every year from these diseases. Because immunization programs of the 20th century were so successful, many of today's young parents do not understand that the risk for these diseases to re-emerge is real, Dr. Katz said.

For example, small outbreaks of rubella continue to occur in the U.S., and the potential for susceptible pregnant women to become infected continues to exist. Rubella is a mild childhood illness that poses a serious threat of birth defects to the fetus if the mother contracts the illness during pregnancy.

Public participation in immunization programs is critical to their success and effectiveness, Dr. Katz noted. "The more children who are immunized, the lower the risk of any individual's being exposed to an infection which can cause illness or even death."

The March of Dimes Foundation supported research that led to the development of vaccines that have eliminated polio in the United States and most other countries. The foundation continues to support efforts to incase immunization coverage so that children are protected against preventable diseases.

Autism is a pervasive developmental disorder characterized by language, social, and behavioral abnormalities. Although no one really knows for certain, autism appears to be present at birth, even if it is not diagnosed until early childhood. Nevertheless, much about the disorder remains mysterious. Dr. Katz urged more biomedical research into the underlying causes of autism and related disorders.

More information can be found online at:

-- The March of Dimes: http://www.marchofdimes.com/pnhec/298_9087.asp

-- U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: '/>"/>

SOURCE March of Dimes
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
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