Chickenpox is often considered a fairly harmless disease. However, before the varicella vaccine was routinely given, chickenpox infections resulted in over 10,000 hospitalizations and 100–150 deaths each year in the United States alone. That’s about two or three deaths a week.
Hepatitis A is not as common in the US as it is in the rest of the world, but outbreaks still occur. Until 2004 hepatitis A was the most frequently reported type of hepatitis in the US and more common in Oregon than most other states.
The hepatitis B virus is found in the blood and bodily fluids of an infected person and results in a serious liver disease. There is no cure for hepatitis B. Hepatitis B is not only transmitted sexually, it is passed from person to person in a variety of ways including bites and personal items.
Haemophilus influenzae type b, more often called Hib, is a bacterium that can cause severe and serious infections particularly in young children. Because of the name it is often confused with the flu virus.
Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease mostly affecting children. It is spread via droplets from the nose, mouth or throat of infected persons. For a variety of reasons, the measles, mumps, rubella vaccine (MMR) has become the epicenter of the vaccine debate.
If you have ever heard an infant with pertussis cough, it isn’t something you will quickly forget. Infants are at particularly high risk for complications from pertussis, with the highest percentage of severe complications occurring in children less than six months of age.
Streptococcus pneumoniae, also called pneumococcus, is the most common cause of pneumonia. Because more antibiotics are now resistant to many of the pneumococcus strains, preventing pneumococcal disease is much better than trying to treat it.
In 1952 there were 21,000 cases of paralytic cases of polio in the US. It was one of the most feared diseases of the 20th century. Today, there are none. Although it had a rocky start, the polio vaccine is one of medicine’s greatest success stories.
Tetanus and neonatal tetanus, also known as lockjaw, is a serious but preventable disease that affects the body’s muscles and nerves. It typically arises from a skin wound that becomes contaminated by a bacterium called Clostridium tetani. This bacterium is often found in soil and in the intestines and feces of many household and farm animals.