The U.S. Centers for Disease Control is recommending a new immunization schedule for two vaccines that recently have been licensed for use in preventing mophilus influenza type b in infants and young children.
According to the C.D.C., Hib is the leading cause of invasive bacterial disease among children in the United States. Before effective vaccines came onto the market, 1 in 200 children developed invasive Hib disease by age 5, the C.D.C. reports. Sixty percent of these children had meningitis, and between 3 percent and 6 percent died.
The new schedule recommends that all children children receive one of the two new vaccines--hboc and prp-omp--beginning at 2 months, and receive a second dose at 4 months. If hboc is used, infants should get a third dose at 6 months of age, and a booster at 15 months.
Infants who are being given prp-omp need a booster at 12 months of age. Children under the age of 2 years who have developed Hib should still receive the vaccine, since many children that age fail to develop adequate immunity, the C.D.C. said.
The Hib vaccine can be administered at the same time vaccines for other diseases are administered, according to the recommendations. Serious adverse reactions to the Hib vaccine have been rare, the C.D.C. said.
On a related topic, the C.D.C. also reports that rubella is making an unwelcome comeback.
In 1988, an all-time low of 225 cases of rubella, which is also 2 known as the German measles, were reported. In 1989, 396 cases were reported, rising to nearly 1,100 reported cases last year. The rubella cases were primarily reported in the West and Midwest.
In 1989, the largest increase : in cases occurred among those older than 15, and among infants younger than a year old. Last year, the greatest increase in cases occurred among children and adolescents below the age of 14.
Limited data from several outbreaks suggest that most of those ill with the disease were unvaccinated.
A booklet outlining the possible health problems associated with steroid use has been distributed to high-school oaches.
Target, an anti-drug program started by the National Federation of State High School Associations, has mailed "Steroids" to 19,000 high-school coaches.
The booklet stresses that athletes who use steroids, which are closely related to the male hormone testosterone, risk negative short-term and long- term health effects.3
Encouraging steroid use also condones cheating, the booklet says.--ef