Diseases & Vaccines

History of Vaccines Blog


Microcephaly in Infant

December 5, 2017

Zika virus infection during pregnancy can lead to a variety of harmful outcomes for the pregnancy and baby. Microcephaly is a birth defect of the brain that may result. Children with microcephaly have small head sizes and brains and may have intellectual disability, sight and hearing problems, and problems with motor skills.

Zika Virus Emergency Ends

December 5, 2017

The WHO declared an end to the Zika virus public health emergency of international concern. Effective mosquito control measures and an increasing population of humans previously infected with Zika virus led to a slowing of new cases. However, by the end of the epidemic, more nearly 600,000 cases of Zika virus infection were suspected to have occurred in the Americas, and nearly 4,000 babies were confirmed to have congenital syndrome associated with Zika virus infection.

WHO Declares Zika Virus Emergency

December 5, 2017

The World Health Organization announced that the spread of Zika virus was a public health emergency of international concern. At the time, the WHO's Emergency Committee had sufficient information to announce that a strong association existed between Zika virus infection in pregnant women and microcephaly and other birth defects in their infants. Over the next months, this evidence, and evidence that Zika virus infection could lead to Guillain Barre Syndrome, would grow more convincing.

Map of Yemen

August 18, 2017

A cholera epidemic began in Yemen in April 2017, raging through a country whose water, sanitation, and health infrastructures had been damaged by conflict. As of mid-August, about 500,000 cases and nearly 2,000 deaths had occurred.

Yemeni Cholera Epidmic

August 16, 2017

A cholera epidemic began in Yemen in April 2017, raging through a country whose water, sanitation, and health infrastructures had been damaged by conflict. As of mid-August, about 500,000 cases and nearly 2,000 deaths had occurred.

Circulating Vaccine-Derived Polio, 2017

August 7, 2017

Mid-way through 2017, reported cases of wild poliovirus remained low. As of August 2017, only 8 cases of wild paralytic poliovirus were recorded for the year, as compared with 19 cases for the same period in 2016. The cases occurred in Afghanistan and Pakistan. However, clusters of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus occurred in Syria (27 cases) and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (4 cases). These clusters illustrate the importance of maintaining high immunization rates in non-endemic countries. This is difficult, though, in areas experiencing war and civil unrest.

HPV Vaccine Subunits

May 18, 2017

Human papillomavirus vaccines are made from the L1 structural protein of HPVs. The proteins, manufactured in living yeast or animal cells, self-assemble into empty shells that resemble HPV and stimulate an immune response when injected into the body.

Meningococcal Vaccination, Mali

January 25, 2017

A woman in Mali receives a group A meningococcal vaccination, 2010. A conjugate meningococcal group. That year, a vaccine began to be used in the African meningitis belt, where epidemics have historically led to thousands of deaths in epidemic years and much disability. This vaccine was developed in a unique collaboration among corporate, governmental, and non-governmental entities for a cost of development that was less than 10% of the $500 million typically required to create a new vaccine. The final cost per dose was only US $0.40.

Ali Maow Maalin

January 25, 2017

Ali Maow Maalin, a cook in Merca, Somalia, who worked in a hospital but never been vaccinated himself, contracted the last case of naturally occurring smallpox (variola minor). He made a full recovery. He became an advocate for polio vaccination and worked as a vaccinator in Somalia. He died July 22, 2013, at age 59 of malaria.

Rahima Banu

January 25, 2017

Bangladeshi woman Rahima Banu and her infant daughter. In 1975 when she was a girl of two years old, Banu suffered the last wild human case of variola major (smallpox of the severe kind).