Global Immunization: Worldwide Disease Incidence

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.

Top causes of death in children less than 5 years old

  • Neonatal causes
  • Pneumonia
  • Other (unspecified) conditions
  • Congenital anomalies and other non-communicable diseases
  • Diarrhea
  • Injury
  • Malaria
  • Prematurity
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Measles

References:

Worldwide disease incidence of vaccine-preventable diseases

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:

Global Immunization: Disease Incidence in the U.S. and the World

Anthrax

  • Worldwide cases/year: 2,000
  • Worldwide deaths/year: unavailable
  • U.S. cases/year: 1-2
  • U.S. deaths/year: 0

Cholera

  • Worldwide cases/year: 1.3 – 4 million
  • Worldwide deaths/year: 20,000 – 140,000
  • U.S. cases/year: < 15
  • U.S. deaths/year: 0

Diphtheria

  • Worldwide cases/year: 7,100
  • Worldwide deaths/year: about 700
  • U.S. cases/year: < 5
  • U.S. deaths/year: < 1

Hepatitis A

  • Worldwide cases/year: 1.4 million
  • Worldwide deaths/year: unavailable
  • U.S. cases/year: < 3,000
  • U.S. deaths/year: < 70

Hepatitis B

  • Worldwide cases/year: 2 billion
  • Worldwide deaths/year: 1 million
  • U.S. cases/year: 850,000 – 2.2 million
  • U.S. deaths/year: < 2,000

Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)

  • Worldwide cases/year: 7-8 million
  • Worldwide deaths/year: 199,000
  • U.S. cases/year: < 25
  • U.S. deaths/year: < 5

Human Papillomavirus

  • Worldwide cases/year: 530,000 cases of cervical cancer
  • Worldwide deaths/year: > 270,000
  • U.S. cases/year: 14 million new infections, 33,700 cases of cancer caused by HPV
  • U.S. deaths/year: 4,200 deaths from cervical cancer

Influenza

  • Worldwide cases/year: 3-5 million severe cases
  • Worldwide deaths/year: 290,000 – 650,000
  • U.S. cases/year: 9 million - 36 million
  • U.S. deaths/year: up to 56,000

Japanese Encephalitis Virus (JEV)

  • Worldwide cases/year: 68,000
  • Worldwide deaths/year: 13,600 to 20,400
  • U.S. cases/year: < 1
  • U.S. deaths/year: < 1

Meningococcus

  • Worldwide cases/year: 500,000
  • Worldwide deaths/year: 50,000
  • U.S. cases/year: between 800 – 1,500
  • U.S. deaths/year: 120

Measles

  • Worldwide cases/year: 132,000
  • Worldwide deaths/year: 90,000
  • U.S. cases/year: typically < 200
  • U.S. deaths/year: 0

Mumps

  • Worldwide cases/year: > 600,000
  • Worldwide deaths/year: unavailable
  • U.S. cases/year: typically < 6,500
  • U.S. deaths/year: 0

Pertussis

  • Worldwide cases/year: about 24 million
  • Worldwide deaths/year: about 160,700
  • U.S. cases/year: about 20,000 reported cases
  • U.S. deaths/year: < 20

Pneumococcus

  • Worldwide cases/year: 14.5 million
  • Worldwide deaths/year: 826,000
  • U.S. cases/year: 1,000,000
  • U.S. deaths/year: < 22,000

Polio

  • Worldwide cases/year: < 25
  • Worldwide deaths/year: unavailable
  • U.S. cases/year: 0
  • U.S. deaths/year: 0

Rabies

  • Worldwide cases/year: 15 million
  • Worldwide deaths/year: 59,000
  • U.S. cases/year: 2
  • U.S. deaths/year: 0

Rotavirus

  • Worldwide cases/year: 138 million
  • Worldwide deaths/year: 215,000
  • U.S. cases/year: 500,000
  • U.S. deaths/year: < 10

Rubella

  • Worldwide cases/year: > 22,000
  • Worldwide deaths/year: unavailable
  • U.S. cases/year: ≤ 10 reported cases
  • U.S. deaths/year: unavailable

Shingles

  • Worldwide cases/year: unavailable
  • Worldwide deaths/year: unavailable
  • U.S. cases/year: est. 1 million
  • U.S. deaths/year: < 100

Tetanus

  • Worldwide cases/year: 500,000 - 1 million
  • Worldwide deaths/year: 72,600
  • U.S. cases/year: est. 30
  • U.S. deaths/year: 3-4

Tuberculosis

  • Worldwide cases/year: 10.4 million
  • Worldwide deaths/year: 1.7 million
  • U.S. cases/year: < 10,000
  • U.S. deaths/year: < 500

Typhoid

  • Worldwide cases/year: 21 million
  • Worldwide deaths/year: 222,000
  • U.S. cases/year: 5,700
  • U.S. deaths/year: unavailable

Varicella (Chickenpox)

  • Worldwide cases/year: 40-50 million
  • Worldwide deaths/year: > 4,200
  • U.S. cases/year: < 350,000
  • U.S. deaths/year: < 20

Yellow Fever

  • Worldwide cases/year: 84,000 – 170,000
  • Worldwide deaths/year: 30,000 – 60,000
  • U.S. cases/year: 0
  • U.S. deaths/year: 0

*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.

If you know of updates, please contact us by e-mailing contactPACK@email.chop.edu. Be sure to include the source of your information.

Reviewed by Paul A. Offit, MD on March 28, 2018

Materials in this section are updated as new information and vaccines become available. The Vaccine Education Center staff regularly reviews materials for accuracy.

You should not consider the information in this site to be specific, professional medical advice for your personal health or for your family's personal health. You should not use it to replace any relationship with a physician or other qualified healthcare professional. For medical concerns, including decisions about vaccinations, medications and other treatments, you should always consult your physician or, in serious cases, seek immediate assistance from emergency personnel.