Immunization - Polio

Poliomyelitis (polio) is a crippling disease caused by a virus which usually enters the body via the mouth and multiplies in the gut. At times it may cause mild gastro-intestinal illness but the most disabling feature is paralysis. it affects the nerves which may result in respiratory paralysis endangering life. As mentioned that it multiplies in intestines, therefore, it gets excreted in stools. If one gets exposed to the stools of a person either due to lack of sanitation or handles the excreta and goes into his own body, one gets infected. We are very close to eradicate the disease but if it happens, less than 2 year kids are much more susceptible population. Unfortunately there isn't any cure for polio, it can only be prevented. There are 2 types of vaccines available- killed which is given in injectable form and live which is given in oral form. as the name indicates live vaccines which has a very rare possibility of being activated inside body, there is a faint chance of vaccination induced paralytic poliomyelitis. Therefore, in most of the developed countries, injectable polio vaccine is administered.

One of the few oral vaccines available is Rotavirus vaccine. As the name suggests, Rotavirus vaccine protects against Rotavirus which is one the most common viral diarrhea in kids less than 2 years age group. It can cause severe diarrhoea, vomiting, fever stomache ache and dehydration. It has no significant correlation to hygiene status, hence, all the kids are equally susceptible. It spreads by feco-oral route which means it gets excreted in stools of infected children and sprads through soiled hands and objects. There are 2 types of vaccines-Rotarix and Rotateq. Rotarix is given in 2 doses while Rotateq is given in 3 doses before the age of 6 months.

The other newly recommended vaccine is Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine which comes by the name Prevenar. It protects against bacteria called as pneumococcus which is responsible for ear infection, sinusitis, pneumonia and meningitis. Vaccination by this vaccine will protect against most of the pneumococcal infection except sinuitis. The general myth among lay people is that this protects against pneumonia, I must stress that it protects only against pneumonia caused by this particular bacteria. It has a very characteristic regimen, if firts dose is given to child less than 6 months, total of 4 dosese are needed. If a child receives 1st dose between the age of 6 months to a year, 3 doses are needed and after 1st birthday 2 doses are given till 2nd birthday after which if a child requires a vaccine only 1 dose would be given.

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