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Diseases and Vaccines

In the United States, the recommended childhood immunization schedule now includes vaccines to protect against 15 diseases, including seasonal influenza. Thanks to widespread vaccination programs, many of these diseases have been brought under control in the United States and throughout the world. The path to this point in history, however, was a long one.

Smallpox, polio, yellow fever, diphtheria, measles--all of these illnesses have had a major impact on human history. This timeline highlights both the struggles and the victories against them in the ongoing human fight against disease.

Highlights

“The Great Race of Mercy”

A 1925 diphtheria outbreak in Alaska led to the now-famous Nenana-to-Nome dog sled run, delivering antitoxin to treat sick children. More

Did You Know?

Deaths from yellow fever and malaria contributed to the French abandonment of efforts to build the Panama Canal. More

Massive U.S. Polio Vaccine Trial

More than 1.3 million U.S. children participated in a trial of Salk’s inactivated polio vaccine. More