From polio to chickenpox, vaccines run gamut
Posted: Wednesday, December 7, 2011 8:03 pm
By MIKE STOBBE
AP Medical Writer
ATLANTA (AP) — Most people don’t think about polio and diphtheria these days.
Those diseases have been stamped out in the United States, largely because of vaccines.
But a growing number of parents are seeking exemptions so their children don’t have to get those vaccinations and others required by most states for kids to attend school.
Here’s a rundown of the diseases the most commonly required vaccines help prevent:
—Polio, a paralyzing, sometimes deadly disease once seen in terrifying outbreaks, now only occurring in a few developing countries.
—Measles, a once common illness that causes a rash and in rare cases can be fatal.
In recent years, fewer than 100 cases were seen, but at least double that number has appeared in the U.S. this year.
—Mumps, a usually mild disease known for swelling the salivary glands, sometimes leading to more severe complications like deafness or miscarriage. Nearly 2,500 cases were reported last year.
—Rubella, or German measles, which causes a rash but can trigger birth defects if acquired by a pregnant woman.
Only a handful of cases are reported in the U.S. each year.
—Pertussis, or whooping cough, a highly contagious disease that can cause violent coughing in children. Nearly 20,000 cases were reported in 2010, an unusually bad year with several infant deaths.
—Tetanus, or lockjaw, that can cause tightening of the muscles that prevents a victim from swallowing. Only a couple of dozen cases have been seen in the U.S. in recent years.
—Diphtheria, a bacterial illness that can lead to neck swelling and even death. Kids are at the greatest risk, but no confirmed case has been reported in the U.S. since 2003.
—Hepatitis B, a viral infection that attacks the liver and can lead to liver failure or death. About 2,700 cases were reported last year.
Published in The Messenger 12.7.11