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Vaccines Today

Aaron Levin
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Copyright ©2004 by the American College of Physicians

Ann Intern Med. 2000;133(8):661. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-133-8-200010170-00102
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In 20th-century medicine, vaccines helped to alleviate an enormous burden of disease. Cases of childhood illnesses that were once common in the United States have been reduced by two orders of magnitude. Before the introduction of a vaccine for measles, an average of 500 000 cases of measles were reported annually from 1958 to 1962; only 89 cases were diagnosed in 1998. Wild-type polio has been eliminated from the western hemisphere, and smallpox has been eliminated from the globe. New vaccines to combat varicella and pneumococcal infections in infants have recently been approved, and others are in clinical trials. An international team is working to eradicate polio within 5 years, and the elimination of measles is being discussed.







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