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Vaccine-Preventable Deaths Reach New Low in U.S.
Date:11/13/2007

Tens of thousands of lives saved each year through immunization, study says,,,,

TUESDAY, Nov. 13 (HealthDay News) -- The incidence of vaccine-preventable deaths has reached an all-time low in the United States, a new federal report shows.

The study, by researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also found that childhood vaccinations have reduced the death rates from seven previously common childhood illnesses, such as diphtheria, mumps and measles, by 100 percent.

"The number of cases of most vaccine-preventable diseases is at an all-time low; hospitalizations and deaths have also shown striking decreases," wrote the authors of the study, which is published in the Nov. 14 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study compared the number of cases and deaths for 13 vaccine-preventable deaths: diphtheria; pertussis (whooping cough); tetanus; polio; measles; mumps; rubella (German measles); invasive Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib); acute hepatitis B; hepatitis A; varicella (chickenpox); Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcal); and smallpox. The researchers compared the most recent data on illnesses (from 2006) and deaths (from 2004) to pre-vaccination rates.

Overall, for immunizations developed prior to 1980, there was a 92 percent reduction in vaccine-preventable illnesses and a 99 percent or greater decline in deaths due to vaccine-preventable diseases. For vaccines introduced after 1980, including the hepatitis vaccines, Hib and chickenpox, there was an 80 percent or greater decline in illness and deaths. Cases of invasive pneumococcal disease were down 34 percent, and death rates were down 25 percent.

At the peak incidence of diphtheria in the 1930s, more than 30,000 people in the United States developed the disease each year, and 3,000 died. Today, there have been no reported cases or deaths in the country. Whooping
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