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Vaccine reduces racial disparity in incidence of childhood pneumonia and meningitis

A vaccine that was distributed beginning in 2000 has reduced the incidence of childhood pneumonia and meningitis and has helped to decrease the excess incidence among black Americans, according to a study in the May 12 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

"Historically, blacks in the United States have higher incidence of invasive pneumococcal disease (i.e., pneumonia and meningitis) than whites, with the widest disparities occurring among children in the first 2 years of life and among adults 18 to 64 years old," according to background information in the article. Following recommendation of a new vaccine (7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine) for children in October 2000, the incidence of invasive pneumococcal disease has declined dramatically, but the impact of vaccination on racial disparities in incidence of pneumococcal disease has not been known.

Brendan Flannery, Ph.D., of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed data from the Active Bacterial Core Surveillance (ABCs)/Emerging Infections Program Network, an active, population-based surveillance system in 7 states. The data included 15,923 cases of invasive pneumococcal disease occurring between January 1, 1998, and December 31, 2002.

The researchers found that between 1998 and 2002, annual incidence rates for invasive pneumococcal disease decreased from 19.0 to 12.1 cases per 100,000 among whites and from 54.9 to 26.5 among blacks. "Due to these declines, 14,730 fewer cases occurred among whites and 8,780 fewer cases occurred among blacks in the United States in 2002, compared with the average number in two prevaccine years, 1998 and 1999. Before vaccine introduction, incidence among blacks was 2.9 times higher than among whites; in 2002, the black-white rate ratio had been reduced to 2.2. Incidence among black children younger than 2 years went from being 3.3 times higher than among white children in the prevacc
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Contact: Llewlyn Grant
404-639-7286
JAMA and Archives Journals
11-May-2004


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