Each year, about 85 percent of the world’s children receive vaccines that protect them against tuberculosis, polio, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, and measles. These vaccines save about 2.5 million lives, and the hepatitis B vaccine, although not as widely used, saves about 600,000 lives.
Despite this success, more than 3 million people die from vaccine-preventable diseases each year. Approximately 1.5 million of these deaths are in children less than 5 years old. Of the top 10 causes of death in those less than 5 years old, several are infectious, meaning they can be transmitted from one person to another.
It costs about $50 to fully immunize a child in the developing world against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, measles, polio, tuberculosis, hepatitis B, and Haemophilus influenzae type b. Learn more about the “Immunize Every Child” campaign and the GAVI Alliance.
Source: Black R, Cousens S, Johnson HL, Lawn JE, Rudan I, Bassani DG, et al. Global, regional, and national causes of child mortality in 2008: a systematic analysis. Lancet. 2010 Jun 5;375(9730):1969-87.
Even though some diseases may not be making people sick in your neighborhood, they may be common in other parts of the world. Given that people commonly travel for business, to visit family and friends, with relief groups, and for vacation, the viruses or bacteria that cause diseases can easily “hitch a ride.” Here is a look at the worldwide prevalence of many vaccine-preventable diseases:
|Disease||Worldwide Cases/Year||Worldwide Deaths/Year||U.S. Cases/Year||U.S. Deaths/Year|
|Diphtheria||50,000||5,000||< 5||< 1|
|Hepatitis A||1.4 million||Unavailable||17,000||≤100|
|Hepatitis B||2 billion||600,000||38,000||3,000|
|Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)||8 million||199,000||<25||< 5|
|Human Papillomavirus||500,000 cases of cervical cancer||250,000||6 million infections,
25,000 cases of cancer caused by HPV
|4,000 deaths from cervical cancer|
|Influenza||3-5 million severe cases||250,000 - 500,000||30 million - 60 million||Up to 40,000|
|Japanese Encephalitis Virus (JEV)||50,000||10,000||< 1||< 1|
|Pertussis||30-50 million||300,000||19,000 reported cases||15-20|
|Rotavirus||138 million||453,000||2.7 million||20-60|
|Tuberculosis||9 million||1.5 million||11,000||500|
|Varicella (Chickenpox)||80-90 million||Unavailable||408,500||< 10|
*Data represented in this table was compiled from multiple sources and in most cases rounded to the nearest thousand. The information presented represents the most recent data available.
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The Meningitis Vaccine Project is a collaboration between PATH and the World Health Organization (WHO) to develop, test, produce and provide vaccines that prevent meningococcal disease in the “meningitis belt,” an area in sub-Saharan Africa made up of 26 countries stretching from Ethiopia in the east to Senegal in the west. As a part of its mission, the Meningitis Vaccine Project created a vaccine to protect against meningococcus serogroup A, the most common cause of meningococcal disease in the “meningitis belt.” The vaccine was first introduced in Burkina Faso, Africa in 2010 and to date, nine other African countries have implemented immunization programs offering the meningococcal vaccine.
In northern Nigeria, during the week of December 3, 2012, the 100 millionth person received meningococcal A vaccine. This major milestone is even more exciting because it occurred just two years after the immunization program was first introduced in sub-Saharan Africa. A total of 112 million people are expected to receive the vaccine by the end of 2012.
Updated: February 2013
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