April 18, 1997

Multi-part series to probe pediatric infectious diseases

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Multi-part series to probe pediatric infectious diseases

Forty-two years ago this month, on April 12, 1955 to be exact, the polio vaccine developed by Dr. Jonas Salk was declared safe and effective for use in combating this debilitating disease. Over time, the vaccine virtually stamped out polio in this country and became known as one of the high-water marks in medicine's fight against the vast and myriad world of pediatric infectious disease.

Salk's polio vaccine is but one of many similar success stories. And while many of the infectious diseases of children have been vanquished during the last half century, many more still remain resistant to effective treatment and prevention.

Here at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, the Division of Pediatric Infectious Disease treats young patients and conducts research to develop new vaccines and treatments for a host of childhood infectious diseases, which run the gamut from meningitis, encephalitis, pertussis and otitus to colds, flus, RSV and influenza and, of course, pediatric AIDS.

The breadth and depth of cutting edge research going on and the quality of treatment taking place in the division is truly remarkable.

That's why the staff of the VUMC Reporter is, with this issue, beginning a 10-issue special series focusing on pediatric infectious diseases. The series kicks off with an in-depth look at meningitis and what the physicians, nurses, researchers and support staff of Vanderbilt's Pediatric Infectious Diseases division are doing to fight the disease.

Next week, look for a profile of Dr. David T. Karzon, professor of Pediatrics Emeritus, who spent more than 25 years at Vanderbilt developing programs to help sick children not only in the Nashville area, but across the world.

Future stories will spotlight research efforts and treatment programs for a host of childhood infectious diseases, including a look inside VUMC's pediatric AIDS program.

We hope you find this series as interesting and informative to read as it was to write. ‹ Doug Campbell