Vaccine Preventable Diseases
APHL promotes the role of state and local public health laboratories in the detection and surveillance of vaccine preventable diseases (VPDs) by improving knowledge, providing trainings and ensuring quality information exchange.
Before the development of vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) and diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTP), morbidity and mortality from these diseases were significant in the US. The widespread use of the MMR and DTP vaccines has reduced cases, making these diseases rare.
However, recent measles outbreaks and the resurgence of mumps and pertussis across the US have demonstrated that public health laboratories must maintain the capability and capacity to respond effectively to re-emerging VPDs through routine surveillance, and diagnostic and confirmatory testing. They use a combination of diagnostic techniques, including culture, serology, antigen detection and PCR, to detect and characterize VPDs.
Vaccine Preventable Disease Reference Centers
In 2013, APHL and CDC selected four public health laboratories (CA, MN, NY and WI) to serve as VPD Reference Centers. In 2019, APHL and CDC recompeted the four reference centers; eligibility parameters and site selection can be found on the APHL Request for Proposals site.
The VPD Reference Centers perform molecular testing for seven VPDs (measles, mumps, rubella, varicella zoster virus, Bordetella pertussis, Haemophilus influenzae and Neisseria meningitides) on behalf of other public health laboratories that have enrolled as submitting sites. The Reference Centers also offer proficiency testing for molecular testing for VPDs to other public health laboratories.
VPD RC Reference Guide and Diagnostic Fact Sheets
For a list of VPD RC services, including specimen types and turnaround times, please see our
quick guide. Additionally, APHL has developed a series of fact sheets to aid in testing and deciphering results: