7 diseases conquered by immunizations
Here are seven diseases that have been either eliminated or dramatically reduced because of immunizations
It’s a disease that’s spread through person-to-person contact and is caused by a bacterium. It affects the upper respiratory system and can be fatal by blocking airways and can release a toxin that can cause paralysis and heart failure. The vaccine was developed in the 1940s. Before the vaccine, about 100,000 to 200,000 diphtheria cases were reported in the United States. After the vaccine became prevalent, only about one case is reported in the United States each year.
An extremely contagious disease, measles is transferred when someone touches or breathes droplets that contain the virus. It’s an infection of the respiratory system caused by a virus. Symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes and a body rash. Since the first measles vaccine in 1963, the immunization has eliminated 99 percent of the cases in some countries.
An intestinal virus that’s spread through saliva and stool, polio can cause paralysis along with a host of other symptoms. Before the vaccine, tens of thousands of people a year would be paralyzed from the virus and thousands died. Jonas Salk created the first polio vaccine in 1955, and now polio has been virtually eliminated from the Western World.
Caused by a virus, smallpox is a rapidly spreading and deadly disease. The treatment for smallpox became the basis for other immunizations. In the late 1700s, scientists found that inoculating patients with cowpox, which is a similar but weaker virus than smallpox, would make them immune to the more severe ailment. The development of a smallpox vaccine is one of the true triumphs of immunization. In 1980, the World Health Organization announced that small pox had been eradicated from the planet.
Caused by toxin-producing spores of a bacteria, tetanus can cause muscle contractions, including spasms that can interfere with breathing. The first tetanus immunizations were used during World War II. The tetanus immunization is 100 percent effective at stopping the effects of the bacteria.
Carried by a mosquito, the virus appears in about 200,000 people worldwide and causes about 30,000 deaths per year. Because the virus causes jaundice, the affliction was dubbed “yellow fever.” Originally developed in 1927, the vaccine is 95 percent effective and conveys protection for 10 years. Although the vaccine has been around for 60 years, cases of yellow fever have been increasing.
A bacterial infection causes this disease which is characterized by a harsh, loud cough and difficulty breathing. A very contagious disease, 90 percent of those not vaccinated will develop the disease. It remains a threat and recently, researchers have recommended that in addition to children, adults should get the vaccination.