Connecticut honored for increase in teen immunizations

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention honored Connecticut for having the largest increase in the nation for teen immunization rates for certain vaccinations during a national conference in Washington, D.C., on Monday.

Connecticut’s teen vaccination rate rose 16 percent between 2008 and 2009 for three particular vaccines recommended to prevent cervical cancer, pertussis and meningitis. According to the CDC, 73 percent of the state’s teens have received all recommended vaccinations, compared with the national average of 58 percent, the Associated Press reports.

Jewel Mullen, the public health commissioner of Connecticut, said that the agency is proud of the work health care organizations and providers around the state have done to improve awareness of how important vaccinations are for teens, according to the AP.

According to the CDC, cervical cancer is mainly caused by the human papillomavirus, which is a common virus that can be passed from one person to another during sex. While over half of sexually active people will have HPV during their lives, few women will get cervical cancer.

Meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes that cover the spinal cord and brain. It is typically caused by a bacterial or a viral infection. Bacterial meningitis can be treated with antibiotics, but it is important that treatment be started early in the course of the disease.

Pertussis, also known as whooping cough is a bacterial infection in the respiratory system. While it is more frequently known as a childhood disease, it can still infect teenagers and adults.