Infectious Disease Epidemiology Program

Selected vaccine-preventable diseases monitored by the Infectious Disease Epidemiology Program

  • Anthrax - a serious disease caused by Bacillus anthracis, a bacterium that forms spores. A bacterium is a very small organism made up of one cell. Many bacteria can cause disease. A spore is a cell that is dormant (asleep) but may come to life with the right conditions.
  • Haemophilus Influenza - Haemophilius influenzae are Gram--negative coccibacilli that are divided into unencapsulated (nontypable) and encapsulated strains. The encapsulated strains are further classified into serotypes a through f, based on the antigenic characteristic of their polysaccharide capsules. H. influenzae serotype b (Hib) is the most pathogenic. Since 1990, routine use of the Hib conjugate vaccine has decreased the incidence of invasive Hib disease in children. Maine monitors the incidence of invasive H. influenzae through mandatory reporting by health care providers, clinical laboratories and other public health partners. Haemophilus influenzae Type b (Hib) can become a very serious infection in chidren 5 and under
  • Meningococcal - Invasive meningococcal disease is the leading cause of bacterial meningitis in children and young adults in the United States. Symptoms of meningococcal disease include fever, headache and stiff neck in meningitis cases, and sepsis and rash in meningococcemia. Confirmed cases of invasive meningococcal disease include patients with clinically compatible presentation and laboratory-isolation of Neisseria meningitidis (N. Meningiditis) from a normally sterile site (e.g., blood or cerebrospinal fluid {CSF} or, less commonly, synovial, pleural, or pericardial fluid) or skin scrapings of purpuric lesions.
  • Pertussis (Whooping Cough) - Pertussis, or whooping cough, is caused by bacteria called Bordetella pertussis. Pertussis can be very serious, especially in infants. The first signs of pertussis are similar to a cold (sneezing, runny nose, low-grade fever, and a cough).
  • Smallpox - Smallpox is a serious, contagious, and sometimes fatal disease caused by the variola (var-ee-o-la) virus. Except for laboratory stockpiles, the variola virus has been eliminated. However, in the aftermath of the events of September and October, 2001, there is heightened concern that the variola virus might be used as an agent of bioterrorism. For this reason, the U.S. government is taking precautions for dealing with a smallpox outbreak.