Most people know little about diphtheria today thanks to the effectiveness of its vaccine. Fear of this highly contagious bacterial infection – which chokes off patients’ ability to breathe – was once so strong it gave birth to the Iditarod Trail Dog Sled Race.
Influenza, or flu, is serious. The flu shot can prevent or minimize the illness. The U.S. can see up to 710,000 flu-related hospitalizations and as many as 56,000 deaths each year. In 2017-18 , a particularly bad year, Texas saw nearly 12,000 flu-related deaths, including 17 children.
Hepatitis A is a highly contagious viral infection that can make people very ill or even kill them. The disease attacks the liver, and people spread it through contact with infected fecal matter.
With six different vaccines for hepatitis B in the U.S., there’s no shortage of tools to prevent it. Yet in 2016, nearly 1,700 people in this country – and more than 780,000 worldwide – died from this viral liver infection.
Despite its name, Haemophilus influenzae type b – or Hib – doesn’t cause influenza. In the 1890s, doctors thought this bacteria might cause flu and – despite later research showing flu is a viral illness – the name stuck.
HPV – short for human papillomavirus – is the world’s most common sexually transmitted infection. About 80% of people in the U.S. will get HPV, which can lead to cancer in men and women years later.
Pregnant women may not realize they pass on disease-fighting antibodies to their babies, protecting them early in life. Certain vaccines received before and during pregnancy protect moms and babies.
Measles, an awful disease that is incredibly contagious, was eradicated in the U.S. because most everyone got the vaccine against it. But it has made a comeback, including in some areas of Texas.
Meningococcal B (MenB) vaccine is the new kid on the block for children and adolescents, having won approval in 2014. This vaccine for meningitis B often is confused with the older meningococcal vaccine.
Your patients might not be familiar with meningococcal disease because it is relatively rare in the U.S. When it hits, though, it’s nasty, leading to meningitis or bloodstream infections, among other ailments.
Mumps spreads easily through sneezing and coughing, or just by touching infected surfaces. A vaccine, introduced in 1967, reduced U.S. cases by 99%. However, outbreaks continue to occur, including in Texas.
The “whoop” that gives whooping cough (pertussis) its name is a terrifying sound. It’s the sound of someone – usually a child – gasping for breath. Adults need the shot to protect babies. Whooping cough can affect anyone, and is especially dangerous for babies.
Your patients might not have heard of pneumococcal bacteria, but they probably know some of its serious conditions: pneumonia, meningitis, sinusitis, blood infections, and ear infections.
Polio once terrified Americans. In the 1940s-'50s, the virus crippled some 35,000 Americans a year. Because polio often attacked abdominal muscles used to breathe, many died or needed a respirator called an iron lung.
Rotavirus is the most common cause of diarrhea for young children in the world today. It is a highly contagious viral infection that inflames the lining of the stomach and intestines, and especially affects children 2 years old and younger.
The virus that causes rubella often appears deceptively mild — so mild, in fact, that one-quarter to half of people infected with it will have no symptoms at all. Rubella is especially dangerous for pregnant women.
Tetanus goes by the nickname “lockjaw” for good reason: It causes painful spasms that typically occur in jaw muscles but can wrack the entire body, and can be fatal.
Texas public schools (and most private schools) and colleges require students to have certain shots before they can attend classes.
Remember those itchy pockmarks so many people used to get as kids? That’s the varicella-zoster virus, or chickenpox. That same virus does double-duty: It can cause chickenpox when you’re young and reactivate later in life as a painful, blistery rash called shingles.
Causes Chickenpox, Shingles
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