Some of the immunisable child diseases

Diphtheria

It mainly affects the throat, and is spread by droplets from the nose or mouth. It can cause breathing difficulties, damage to the heart and nervous system or result in death. The incubation period is from two to six days.

Babies are immunised by injection at eight, 12 and 16 weeks. The vaccine also contains the tetanus, whooping cough, polio and Haemophilus influenza type B vaccines. It is also given before starting school and between 13 and 18 years.

Measles

It is highly infectious, has an incubation period of 10 days. Infection occurs by droplets from the mouth or nose. It may start like a bad cold and a temperature. The rash generally appears after two days. Complications include bronchitis,  ear infections, and in rare cases, complications of the nervous system. The vaccine is given at 9 months, via injection which also contains the mumps and rubella vaccines. A pre-school booster immunisation is also given.

Polio

The virus attacks nerve tissue in the brain and spinal cord, and can sometimes cause paralysis. It is spread by contact with faeces, mucus or saliva of an infected person. The incubation period varies between three and 21 days.

The vaccine also contains diphtheria, tetanus, Hib and whooping cough vaccines. It is given to babies at eight, 12 and 16 weeks, as a preschool booster and when a child is between 13 and 18 years.

Tetanus

The symptoms include painful spasms of muscle contraction. The disease can have an incubation period of four to 21 days. The organism is found in soil. It can also be caught through animal bites. The vaccine is given at eight, 12 and 16 weeks via injection.

It contains the diphtheria, whooping cough, polio and Hib vaccines. It is also given in a preschool booster and when a child is between 13 and 18 years of age.

Whooping cough

It is transmitted by droplets from the nose or mouth. The incubation period is from seven to 10 days. The disease starts as a cold, but as it progresses, the spasms of cough become more severe. Severe cases may be complicated by pneumonia, vomiting, weight loss and rarely, brain damage and death.

Immunisation by injection is done at eight, 12 and 16 weeks. The vaccine also contains the diphtheria, tetanus, polio and Hib vaccines. It is also given as a preschool booster. Tuberculosis (TB) TB is airborne. Most people do not present symptoms, but when they present, they include unexplained weight loss, tiredness, fatigue, shortness of breath, fever, night sweats, chills, and loss of appetite.

The single dose of BCG is administered into the left upper arm at birth. A small bleb is raised and vaccination leads to the development of a small swelling within 2 weeks.

Agencies

 

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