4 Diseases Prevented by Vaccines
Dec 27 2020
Vaccines are one of the most important healthcare interventions available to humankind, preventing the spread of deadly diseases such as polio, tetanus, Hepatitis B and measles. Safe and effective, vaccines use the body’s natural immune system to build protection against pathogens. They’re currently used to prevent the contraction and spread of more than 20 potentially life-threatening diseases, with vaccines such as MMR transforming global healthcare.
A global healthcare intervention
Millions of lives a year are saved thanks to international vaccine programs spearheaded by organisations such as WHO. For example, in 2019 more than 85% of infants around the world received the full three-dose DTP3 vaccine which protects against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis.
As well as safeguarding humans against existing diseases, vaccines play a critical role in combating antimicrobial resistance. By preventing infection vaccines ensure diseases don’t get a chance to infect cells and mutate into even more dangerous strains. Want to know more about how vaccines have transformed global health? Read on for a glimpse of some of the most important vaccines developed over the past century.
Caused by poliovirus, polio infects the brain and spinal cord. While many people do not develop symptoms, those that do can suffer from paralysis. Polio has been eliminated in the United States though other less-developed countries such as Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan continue to report cases.
Muscle spasms, fits and lockjaw are just some of the debilitating symptoms associated with tetanus, a bacterial infection that attacks the nervous system.
While optional, the influenza vaccine is administered to more than 14 million Brits a year. It prevents the influenza virus from infiltrating the body and infecting the nose, throat and lungs. While some people experience mild symptoms influenza can be deadly to babies, the elderly and those with weak immune systems.
Spread through blood and body fluids, Hepatitis B claims more than 750,000 lives a year globally. The virus attracts the liver and can cause severe abdominal pain.
While vaccines are considered a basic human right in most countries, not everyone has access to treatments. Around 20 million children a year are not vaccinated against some of the most common diseases, sparking concerns some diseases could re-emerge.
From epidemiology to pain management, science is at the forefront of global healthcare. Find out more about the latest developments in ‘The Movement Towards More Comprehensive Testing of Mycotoxins in Cannabis.’
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