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States with the best child vaccine rates

Vaccines have made huge inroads over recent decades – dramatically shrinking the numbers of people affected by potentially deadly diseases such as measles, whooping cough, influenza and polio.

But an additional 1.5 million deaths could be prevented across the globe if more people were immunized, says the World Health Organization.

U.S. medical experts spoke with CBS News for World Immunization Week (April 24 – 30) and raised concern about the number of Americans who still aren’t vaccinating their children or getting their own shots, which continues to fuel preventable disease outbreaks.

For example, the U.S. saw a spike in mumps cases last year. In 2016, there were approximately 5,748 cases reported to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, compared to 229 cases in 2012. Already this year, 1,965 mumps cases have been reported to the CDC.

Colleges have been particularly hard hit by the mumps . In 2015-2016, the two largest outbreaks happened in Iowa and Illinois, each involving several hundred university students. And this week, University of Minnesota health officials are warning students about a mumps outbreak on campus where at least six people have been affected.

The  MMR vaccine , given as a two-dose series, protects against measles, mumps and rubella and could reduce those numbers, said Dr. Gregory Poland, who studies the immunogenetics of vaccine response in adults and children, and heads up the Vaccine Research Group at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

Data from the American Academy of Pediatrics shows which states have the best track records for getting children vaccinated for some of the most common preventable childhood diseases:

• Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR vaccine)

• Diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough also called pertussis (DTaP vaccine)

• Chickenpox (varicella vaccine)

Maine, Massachusetts, Nebraska and Rhode Island are in the top 10 states with the highest vaccination rates for all three.


CBS News

The  measles virus  is of particular concern to experts because it can make children seriously ill and may be fatal, posing a particular risk to babies too young to get vaccinated.

“It’s among the most contagious diseases of human kind. If you’re across the gymnasium from someone with measles and they cough, you can get it,” said Dr. Sean O’Leary, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics and an associate professor of pediatric infectious disease at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital Colorado.

In 2015, there were 134,200 measles deaths worldwide. In the U.S., 28 measles cases from 10 states have been reported between January and March of this year. The majority of people who came down with the virus were unvaccinated.

The MMR vaccine doesn’t offer total protection, but after two doses, 97 percent of people are protected, say experts. Immunization resulted in a 79 percent drop in measles deaths between 2000 and 2015 worldwide.

Who isn’t vaccinating?

There are generally two types of people who don’t vaccinate their children or themselves, the Mayo Clinic’s Poland told CBS News.

“On one end of the


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