It is remarkable to me that the US is dealing with localized outbreaks of infectious diseases such as measles and pertussis (whooping cough) given the availability and effectiveness of vaccines. Data that allow assessment of the impact of vaccines have recently become available through a project at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health-Project Tycho. The Project Tycho team obtained and digitized "all weekly surveillance reports of nationally notifiable diseases for U.S. cities and states published between 1888 and 2011." This data set, which includes almost 88 million cases, is freely available to researchers and the public and the first set of results have been published "Contagious Diseases in the United States from 1888 to the Present." A subscription is required for the New England Journal of Medicine article but the information and more is available at the Project Tycho website. Some of the data entry was accomplished through a partnership with Digital Divide Data.
Below are figures available from the Project Tycho website showing trends for measles and pertussis.
Project Tycho is a great resource for research, teaching and advocacy and represents an innovative example of converting information that exists in principle into data that can be analyzed and extended.