Eleven (11) Vaccine Preventable Childhood Diseases
DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis) Vaccine
DTaP is a combination vaccine that protects against:
- Diphtheria – a serious infection of the throat that can block the airway and cause severe breathing difficulty.
- Tetanus (lockjaw) – a nerve disease, which can occur at any age. It is caused by toxin-producing bacteria in a contaminated wound.
- Pertussis (whooping cough) – a respiratory illness with cold symptoms that lead to severe coughing. The “whooping” sound occurs when the child breathes in deeply after a severe coughing spell. Serious complications of whooping cough can occur in children under 1 year of age, and children under 6 months of age are at even greater risk of infection.
MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) Vaccine
MMR is also a combination vaccine. It protects against:
- Measles – also called rubeola, is a highly contagious, but rare, respiratory infection that’s caused by a virus. It causes a total-body skin rash and flu-like symptoms, including a fever, cough, and runny nose.
- Mumps – is a disease caused by a virus that usually spreads through saliva, and can infect many parts of the body, especially the parotid salivary glands (They produce saliva for the mouth, and are found toward the back of each cheek, between the ear and jaw). In cases of mumps, these glands often swell and become very painful.
- Rubella (German measles) – Rubella – commonly known as German measles or 3-day measles – is an infection that primarily affects the skin and lymph nodes. It is caused by the rubella virus (not the same virus that causes measles), and is usually spread by droplets from the nose or throat that others breathe in. It can also pass through a pregnant woman’s bloodstream to infect her unborn child. Since this is a generally mild disease in children, the primary medical danger of rubella is the infection of pregnant women, which may cause congenital rubella syndrome (deafness and other serious congenital defects in newborns.
Polio (IPV) Vaccine
Poliomyelitis (polio, for short) is caused by a virus. The virus can be spread by drinking water contaminated with the virus. It can also be passed by close contact, such as kissing, with an infected person. Polio is a serious illness that can cause paralysis (when you can’t move your arms and legs), or even death. The polio vaccine, also called IPV, is given by injection (a shot). (It used to be given by drops in the mouth.)
Hepatitis B Vaccine
Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) affects the liver. Infected children can become lifelong carriers of the virus, and may develop long-term problems such as cirrhosis(chronic liver disease) or even cancer of the liver.
Hib (Haemophilus influenzae) Vaccine
This bacterium infects the lining of the brain, causing meningitis. Before the Hib vaccine, Hib was the most common cause of meningitis a very serious illness, which can even result in coma and death. Sometimes children recover from the disease but are left permanently paralyzed, deaf, blind or mentally retarded.
Pneumococcal (PCV) Vaccine
The pneumococcal bacterium is the leading cause of serious infections including pneumonia, blood infections, and bacterial meningitis. This vaccine (PCV) protects against pneumococcal infections. Children under 2 years of age are most susceptible to serious pneumococcal infections. The pneumococcus bacterium is spread through person-to-person contact. Not only does the vaccine prevent the infection in children, but it also helps to stop its spread.
Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is a highly contagious viral infection of the respiratory tract, which can cause very serious illness. The flu season is usually from November through March, and sometimes into early spring.
Following are CDC recommendations related to childhood flu vaccination:
- Children from age 6 months until age 5 years should be vaccinated,
- Children 6 months-18 years of age who are receiving chronic aspirin therapy should be vaccinated.
- Flu vaccine is not approved for use in children less than 6 months of age.
Chickenpox (Varicella) Vaccine
Chickenpox is one of the classic childhood diseases, and one of the most contagious. The affected child or adult may develop hundreds of itchy, fluid-filled blisters that burst and form crusts. Chickenpox is caused by a virus.
Meningitis (MCV4) Vaccine
The MCV4 vaccine protects against meningococcal disease, a serious bacterial infection that can cause bacterial meningitis. Meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. It is usually caused by bacteria or viruses. The vaccine is recommended for the following ages:
- Age 11 or 12 years
- Age 15 years if not previously vaccinated (Often, this is just before entering high school)
- For older teens who are entering college and will be living in a dormitory setting, or for other older teens in a group setting, such as the job corps and the military.
Hepatitis A Vaccine
Hepatitis A refers to liver inflammation caused by infection with the hepatitis A virus (HAV). It is one of several viruses that can cause hepatitis and is one of the 3 most common hepatitis viruses in the United States. The other 2 forms are hepatitis B and hepatitis C.
Rotavirus most often infects infants and young children. In children 3 months to 2 years of age, rotavirus is one of the most common causes of diarrhea. In the United States, it leads to outbreaks of diarrhea during the winter and spring months. It can be a problem in child-care centers and children’s hospitals. Almost all children have had a rotavirus infection by the time they are 5 years old. Severe infection, also called rotavirus gastroenteritis, is the leading cause of severe, dehydrating diarrhea in infants and young children.
HPV Vaccine: Recommended to Prevent Some STDs and Cervical Cancer
Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine prevents certain sexually transmitted strains of human papillomavirus (STDs), which are associated with the development of genital warts and cervical cancer. Both are serious conditions, and unless cervical cancer is diagnosed and treated early, it can even result in death.
The HPV vaccine is recommended for 11-12 year-old girls, and can be given to girls as young as 9 years of age. The vaccine is also recommended for 13-26 year-old girls/women who have not yet received or completed the vaccine series.