The best way to prevent dangerous diseases is vaccination. This is a compulsory formation of immunity to pathogens of such dangerous infections as polio, tetanus, whooping cough, tuberculosis and others. Millions had previously died from them, but today a couple of shots can protect your child from infection. Vaccination is the introduction into the body of antigenic material, which leads to the formation of an immune response. As a result, repeated contact with the pathogen will not cause the disease, since the antibodies are already formed and the body will simply destroy the virus. Details of infants & children immunization can be found below.
Diseases That Can Be Prevented by Childhood Immunizations
Please click on the disease below to find out more information.
Diphtheria is an infectious disease caused by Corynebacterium diphtheriae bacterium. Its signs and symptoms usually appear 2–5 days after infection and range from mild to severe. Symptoms often increase gradually, starting with sore throat and fever. In severe cases, the bacteria produce a toxin that causes the formation of a thickened grayish or white patina in the throat. Plaque can cause airway obstruction, making breathing and swallowing difficult and causing a “barking” cough. The toxin can also enter the bloodstream, causing various complications, including inflammation and damage to the heart muscle, nerve inflammation, renal dysfunction, and bleeding due to low blood platelets. Damage to the muscles of the heart can lead to cardiac arrhythmias, and inflammation of the nerves can cause paralysis.
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Haemophilus influenzae Serotype b (Hib)
Haemophilus influenzae Serotype b (Hib) is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Haemophilus influenzae. The disease is accompanied by lesions of the upper respiratory tract. The infection is bacterial in nature, the person is the source and carrier of the disease, patients can have any form of hemophilic infection, carriers can look outwardly healthy. The main mode of transmission is airborne, when talking, sneezing, coughing, etc. The highest incidence is observed in the elderly, pedagogical workers, in connection with work in large children’s groups; people with reduced immunity, patients with a removed spleen.
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Hepatitis A is a hepatitis infection causing a lesion of the liver parenchyma cells by a specific virus that can be transmitted enterally., i.e. pathways of infection are the stomach and intestines. Hepatitis A is transmitted with dirty water, contaminated food and with the help of dirty hands after contact with a sick person. The source of infection is a sick person who releases the virus into the environment with feces. Hepatitis A mostly affects children. Older people rarely suffer from this disease. By the age of 40, it is estimated that each person suffers from hepatitis A in one form or another (with or without symptoms). This is due to the way in which hepatitis A is transmitted. This happens through the oral cavity. It’s impossible to control the absolute sterility of water and food.
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Hepatitis B is a systemic viral disease characterized by liver damage and various extrahepatic manifestations. Infection occurs from a patient with acute or chronic hepatitis B. The concentration of the causative agent of hepatitis B in the blood at the height of the disease is extremely high: 1 ml of blood contains 1.000.000.000.000 viruses. One drop of this blood is enough to infect hundreds of people. Hepatitis B is transmitted not only with blood, but also with other body fluids: saliva, vaginal secretions, and sperm. Therefore, the main routes of infection are hematogenous and sexual. In addition, mother-to-child transmission of the virus is possible during delivery.
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Human Papilomavirus (HPV)
Human Papilomavirus (HPV) is a very common infectious disease, which is transmitted mainly through sexual contact, it can also be called HPV infection. About thirty percent of the population are “carriers” of the disease. The causative agent of infection is human papillomavirus. The danger of the disease lies in the fact that some types of virus-pathogen can lead to the development of cancers of the cervix and male genital organs.
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Influenza (also called “the flu”)
Influenza is a serious infectious disease that can affect people of any age and gender. According to statistics, every year millions of people around the world die from flu and its complications. Thus, the flu represents a serious danger to life and health. In general, up to 15% of the world’s population can become sick with seasonal flu during the year. About 0.3% of the disease is fatal. The disease is caused by tiny biological particles – viruses. The flu virus belongs to the group of RNA-containing viruses, that is, viruses that store genetic information in the RNA molecule. In most cases, the virus is transmitted by airborne droplets, when sneezing or coughing, in some cases even with ordinary conversation. Infection can also occur through household objects. After contact with the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract, the virus begins its reproduction. A person who has become infected with a virus can be dangerous to others as it spreads the causative agents of the disease around him. This danger persists even if a person has not yet become ill or has already had flu.
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Measles in children holds a special place among contagious infectious diseases. The symptoms of this acute infectious pathology in children are high fever, a characteristic measles rash, sore throat, cough, severe intoxication of the body. Any child or even an adult can get measles, and measles can occur with serious complications and is sometimes fatal. It is known that measles annually kills 150,000 people worldwide, mostly children under 10 years old. The source of infection in measles is a sick person. The virus is transmitted by airborne droplets and is extremely contagious. Prevention of measles in children is carried out in the form of routine vaccination in two stages. Formed immunity protects against measles or, in case of infection, helps to transfer the disease in a mild form and without complications.
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Meningitis is an inflammation of the lining of the brain. The causative agent of the disease is the genus enterovirus. Most often, this disease is detected in children of preschool and primary school age, adults rarely get sick. The causative agents of this disease can be various viruses that penetrate the meninges perineural (in spaces located around the nerves), lymphogenous (with lymph) or hematogenous (with bloodstream). Depending on the properties of the virus, meningitis can occur through airborne or contact infection route. Viral meningitis may be caused by a mumps virus, arenaviruses, herpes viruses (including Epstein-Barr virus, cytomegalovirus), enterovirus infection, adenoviruses and others.
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Mumps is a disease that is most common in children aged 5 to 15 years, more often in boys. The disease affects almost everyone who is in contact with the infected, the virus easily causes an epidemic. However, those who have had mumps have lifelong immunity. Doctors note the seasonality of this disease – the most cases of infection occurs in March-April. The virus is transmitted from person to person by airborne droplets, but can sometimes remain on objects. Vaccination is effective to prevent the disease.
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Pertussis (whooping cough) is a severe infectious pathology, observed mainly in children and having a specific clinical picture and symptoms. Peculiarities of pertussis symptoms are caused by impaired respiratory function and damage to the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract during the development of the disease. The name of the disease comes from the French onomatopoetic “coqueluche”, similar to a rooster’s cry. The sounds of cough in pertussis can be compared to the crowing of poultry. Despite the funny name, whooping cough was the cause of high infant mortality in the Middle Ages. At the moment, about 300 thousand people die from whooping cough every year. Frequent complications are most common in young children under the age of two and older people. However, the disease can significantly impair health at any age, so it is important to know the symptoms of pertussis and the prevention of infection
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Polio is an acute, infectious disease of the nervous system caused by a poliovirus. The disease affects the nervous system and can cause paralysis in different parts of the body. Infection occurs through personal contact and by eating fecal-contaminated food. It affects mainly children under the age of seven years and prevails in the summer-autumn period. The most common cause of infection is through the digestive tract, when water or food contaminated by the faeces of an infected person is ingested through the mouth. Weakened immunity, removal of tonsils, and endocrine insufficiency contribute to the disease.
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Pneumococcal pneumonia is a form of pneumococcal infection occurring in the form of focal bronchopneumonia or croupous pleuropneumonia. People of all ages are susceptible to this disease. The highest incidence is observed among children under 5 years and adults over 60 years. In about a quarter of cases, pneumococcal pneumonia occurs with severe pulmonary (pleurisy, lung abscess, pleural empyema) and extrapulmonary (pericarditis, arthritis, sepsis) complications. Before the era of penicillin, the mortality rate from pneumococcal pneumonia exceeded 80%. Currently, due to vaccination and antibiotic therapy, this figure has decreased significantly.
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Rotavirus is an acute viral infection, causing the defeat of the gastrointestinal tract. The mechanisms of transmission of the disease are fecal-oral, through food, contaminated water, as well as household, through dirty hands, household items, children’s toys, bed linen. The causative agent of the disease are viruses of the Reoviridae gramm. The source and reservoir of infection is a sick person with a severe or asymptomatic form of the disease. Rotavirus causes about 55,000 hospitalizations in the USA every year and about 600,000 deaths around the globe.
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Rubella is an infectious disease caused by a member of the Togavirus family. The main signs of rubella are symptoms of intoxication, a characteristic rash, mild catarrhal symptoms, and an increase in certain groups of lymph nodes. Most often, sick people have not vaccinated children 2-9 years of age. Rubella is especially dangerous in the first 3 months of pregnancy – this often develops severe congenital malformations of the child, and fetal death is possible. In general, rubella is more severe in adults than in children. The source of infection is a person with a clinically pronounced or erased form of rubella. Ways of transmission – airborne (when talking with the patient, through kisses) and vertical (from mother to fetus). Contact way of infection is also possible – through children’s toys. The patient becomes infectious 1 week before the rash appears and continues to secrete the virus for 5-7 days after the appearance of the rash. A child with congenital rubella releases the pathogen for a longer time (up to 21-20 months).
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Tetanus is an acute infectious disease with symptoms of toxicosis and tonic-clonic convulsions that occur as a result of the toxin damage to the motor CNS cells. Most often, tetanus in children occurs between the ages of three and seven years. This disease mostly occurs in a summer season and affects rural residents. Tetanus causes death in above 40% cases. The causative agent of tetanus enters the body through cuts and wounds on the skin, microtrauma can also cause illness. This is usually the case with injuries and damage to the feet. In newborns, the virus can penetrate through the wound in the navel or umbilical cord residue. After tetanus enters the child’s body, the virus begins to multiply rapidly. This produces tetanospasmin, which can penetrate the central nervous system of the child and spread with the blood flow through the body. To create immunity against tetanus, all children from 3 months of age receive vaccination.
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Varicella (also called “chickenpox”)
Varicella (chickenpox) is an infectious disease caused by the herpes virus of the third type. The degree of chickenpox infection is close to 100%, outbreaks of the disease are especially common among children when they go to kindergartens and schools. The main symptom of chickenpox is a profuse rash that spreads over the entire surface of the skin and even mucous membranes. The disease is provoked by one of the herpes viruses and is highly infectious, although in most cases non-dangerous. The virus quickly transfers by airborne droplets from a sick person to a healthy one. In this case, the person transmitting the disease may not experience symptoms of the disease at this point. It can infect others a few days before the rash appears and the temperature rises. So sometimes it is very difficult to track the source of the disease in advance and prevent its transmission.
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