CDC IDs 10 top public health achievements in last decade

CDC last week released a list of 10 major public health achievements from the first 10 years of the 21st century.

The achievements were published on Friday in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). CDC public health scientists submitted nominations for the list, and 10 achievements were highlighted in no particular order.

CDC spotlighted the significant decline in disease cases, hospitalizations, deaths, and medical costs associated with vaccine-preventable illnesses. According to MMWR, the United States' immunization policy now targets 17 diseases thanks to the development of new vaccines. A recent analysis found that vaccinating each U.S. birth cohort prevents about 42,000 deaths and 20 million cases of disease, saving $14 billion in direct costs, CDC says.

The agency also highlighted infectious disease and cancer prevention in the report. According to MMWR, significant progress has been made to reduce preventable infections. For example, central line-associated blood stream infections dropped by 58% from 2001 to 2009. Meanwhile, evidence-based cancer screening recommendations and efforts by screening advocates have helped reduce cancer mortalities. For example, from 1998 to 2007, colorectal cancer mortality rates decreased from 25.6 per 100,000 population to 20 per 100,000 for men and from 18 per 100,000 population to 14.2 per 100,000 for women.

CDC also emphasized the following achievements on the list:

  • Improved public health preparedness and response;
  • Improved maternal and infant health;
  • Declining rates of heart disease and stroke;
  • Improved tobacco control;
  • Improved vehicle safety;
  • Increased occupational safety; and
  • Declining rates of childhood lead poisoning (Barr, Modern Healthcare, 5/19 [subscription required]; MMWR, 5/20).

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