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1945-49

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1945

Breakthrough: The influenza vaccine was first licensed in the United States.

Description: During the 20th century, influenza-related mortality greatly declined. In the 1940s, the average seasonal rate of death was 10.2 deaths per 100,000 people. By the 1990s it was 0.56 deaths per 100,000 people.

1946

National Cancer Institute / Wikipedia

Breakthrough: Nobel Prize awarded for the discovery of the production of mutations by means of X-ray irradiation.

Description: If you've ever gotten an X-ray, you're probably familiar with the lead apron placed over your chest and abdomen before taking the images. The 1946 discovery led to this practice, meant to protect patients from the cellular mutations that X-rays can cause.

1947

Breakthrough: Combination diphtheria and tetanus toxoids vaccine for pediatric use was first licensed in the United States.

Description: The diphtheria and tetanus toxoids vaccine is used to immunize children between the ages of six months old and seven years old against diphtheria and tetanus. Diphtheria is an infection of the nose and throat and tetanus is a bacterial infection that causes painful muscle spasms and can lead to death.

1948

Breakthrough: Nobel Prize awarded for the discovery of the high efficiency of DDT as a contact poison against several arthropods, such as mosquitos, beetles and lice.

Description: DDT is a synthetic compound whose insecticidal properties were discovered by scientist Paul Hermann Müller. It is effective against many types of bugs and was used in World War II to control the spread of malaria and typhus. However, it was eventually banned due to fears of harmful environmental impacts.

1949

Breakthrough: Diphtheria, tetanus toxoids and pertussis (DTP) vaccine was licensed.

Description: This combination vaccine combats diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (also known as whooping cough). In the U.S., children usually receive five doses of this vaccine between the ages of 2 months and 6 years old.

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