In a typical year in the United States about 150 people die from meningococcus, four from tetanus, none from diphtheria, 20 from pertussis, and roughly 4,000 from cancers caused by human papilloma virus (HPV). People are more than 20 times more likely to die from HPV than from the other four diseases combined.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that every year a cancer caused by HPV is diagnosed in an estimated 17,600 women and 9,300 men.

There is a safe and effective vaccine which protects against HPV. This vaccine is best given at age 11 to 12, but can be given from ages 9-26. To read more about the HPV vaccine go here:

For those with a deeper quest for scientific knowledge, check out the nonfiction book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot. This book chronicles the discovery of the human papilloma virus as the cause of cervical cancer.