THE DEVELOPMENT of safe and effective vaccines for the prevention of many infectious diseases has had a profound influence on the history of preventive medicine during the past two centuries and especially in the past 35 years. The technology has become available to prepare safe and effective vaccines for the prevention of smallpox, rabies, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, yellow fever, poliomyelitis, measles, mumps, and rubella. The extensive use of most of these vaccines is responsible in great part for the substantial decline in morbidity and mortality associated with these diseases.
Today, smallpox appears to be a vanishing disease; with the solitary exception of Ethiopia, it has been virtually eradicated from the world. The reported number of cases of diphtheria in the United States has declined from levels of about 350,000 cases per year in the 1920s to approximately 200 to 300 in recent years. During the past 25 years, there has
Krugman S, Katz SL. Childhood Immunization Procedures. JAMA. 1977;237(20):2228–2230. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03270470064033
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