As August and National Immunization Awareness Month continue on, we focus on another important vaccine, the Japanese encephalitis vaccine. Japanese encephalitis (JE) is a common mosquito-borne disease throughout Asia and the western Pacific, particularly in rural or agricultural areas. The JE virus is just one of a group of mosquito-transmitted diseases that can lead to inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), and it is a potentially severe or even fatal disease.
Yellow fever, a disease spread by mosquitoes, has an extensive history spanning back to the 1600’s. Today, due mainly to vaccination, it has a much lesser impact on the developed (and developing) world, but this has not always been the case. Once considered the most dangerous infectious disease, yellow fever has been eradicated from most parts of the world, thanks to the yellow fever vaccine. In honor of National Immunization Awareness month, read on for a brief history of the disease and how vaccine development has helped eradicate yellow fever in many nations.
In the interest of promoting more robust discourse around the importance of regular vaccinations for serious but preventable contagious conditions, MHA@GW is hosting a guest post series in honor of National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM). During the month of August,they’re featuring blogs from thought leaders and advocates who were asked to answer the question, “Why immunize in 2015?” You can read an excerpt of our partner organization Vaccine Ambassadors Executive Director Jackie Kaufman’s post here, and be sure to read on to explore more posts. MHA@GW is the online master of health administration from the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University.
“The absence of disease in our society has made us complacent. Without a direct memory of these events it is difficult to put this medical marvel into context. What many of us fail to realize is that our experience is the exception and not the rule. In many areas of the world where vaccinations have not become “routine,” parents and children continue to fear the very diseases we have forgotten. In 2013, it was estimated that 145,000 people (mostly children younger than 5) died from measles, a disease that has been preventable for over a half a century.
To be honest, it is difficult to find something fresh that hasn’t been said over and over again, whether it is a rehash of vaccine safety (myths versus facts), Andrew Wakefield’s debunked paper, conspiracy theories, or the motivation of big pharma. It occurred to me that we are continually taking the field in a defensive position, pushing back the false claims rather than creating our own narrative. We need to do better in conveying the amazing impact that vaccines have had and continue to have on our world. Parents, health care providers, and the media (no, there are not two sides) should resound with a common voice. Let’s move beyond the tired old arguments and focus on our messaging. The facts are the facts, but the question is how do we convey them so that they are meaningful and effective?” Read the rest of her post here.
As part of our National Immunization Awareness Month coverage, we look at pneumonia, an infection that hurts many throughout the world, including people in the U.S., every year. Pneumonia is a vaccine-preventable pulmonary infection that causes coughing, fever, shortness of breath, and in some cases even death.
The TDaP vaccination series protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis, all of which are serious bacterial diseases. Diphtheria and pertussis are spread from person to person through bodily secretions via coughing or sneezing. Tetanus enters through cuts, scratches, or wounds on the body.
According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, prior to the vaccination as many as 200,000 cases of diphtheria, 200,000 cases of pertussis, and hundreds of cases of tetanus were reported annually in the United States. The TDaP vaccine is very safe, and it has proven to be the best way to prevent these diseases. Since routine vaccination began, the number of cases of tetanus and diphtheria dropped by 99 percent and those of pertussis by 80 percent.