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Earlier this year, St. Louis experienced an outbreak of measles—despite the fact that an effective vaccine was developed in the early 1960s. Outbreaks of diphtheria have been reported in recent years in at least four states and the number of young children immunized against poliomyelitis has been declining.
Reports such as these are alarming since all of the diseases involved, as well as others such as rubella, mumps, pertussis, and tetanus, are fully preventable. Because they are, the second annual "Immunization Action Month" will be conducted this October in an effort to encourage the inoculation of as many preschool-age children as possible.
These children, as a group, are most susceptible to communicable diseases; older children are less at risk, since many school systems require inoculation as a prerequisite to admission.
In the case of poliomyelitis, the US Immunization Survey conducted each year by the Center for Disease Control shows that
Wendel HF. Immunization Action Month (October). JAMA. 1974;229(14):1910. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230520052037
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