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Many formerly common diseases are now under control, thanks to vaccines. Let’s look at some of these diseases — and the vaccines that prevent them.
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Polio is caused by the poliovirus, and it can affect the spinal cord, causing paralysis.
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Up to 1 out of 10 of people with polio who are paralyzed die because the virus affects the muscles that help them breathe.
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Polio is highly contagious, meaning it can easily spread from person to person.
Drawing of a mother holding a toddler on her lap while a nurse gives the toddler an injection in the upper thigh
But it can be prevented with a vaccine that is given to children in 4 doses.
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Measles is also a highly contagious infection spread by a virus that can cause serious health problems, especially in young children.
About 1 in 5 people who get measles in the United States need to be hospitalized.
Drawing of a coughing person surrounded by 10 other people. 9 out of the 10 surrounding people start coughing, too
Measles is spread through coughing and sneezing. It’s so contagious that if one person has it, up to 9 out of 10 people around them will also get it.
Drawing of words “Measles-mumps-rubella” followed by “ MMR”
Drawing of syringe labeled “MMR” and the words mumps and rubella
Measles is prevented with the Measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, also known as the MMR, which also protects against two other diseases as well — mumps and rubella.
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Mumps is a contagious disease caused by a virus. It’s known for causing puffy cheeks that come from having swollen glands.
Drawing of adult in hospital bed
This disease is usually mild in kids, but can cause serious problems for adults.
Drawing of words “Rubella also known as German measles”
The third disease prevented by the MMR vaccine is rubella, which is also called the German measles.
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Rubella is also caused by a virus and is usually mild — but can cause a miscarriage or birth defects if a woman is infected during pregnancy.
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DTaP = diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis
Tdap = tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis
Other common vaccines called DTaP and Tdap are used to prevent multiple diseases. They both cover diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis – but they are different doses because one is for babies and young children and the other is for older children, teens and adults.
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3+2 = 5 total doses for babies and children
Babies need three doses of the DTaP vaccine and young children need two DTaP booster shots.
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Older kids and adults get the Tdap vaccine to boost immunity.
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Diphtheria is a contagious infection caused by bacteria that can lead to trouble breathing, heart problems and even death.
Drawing of word Tetanus
Another disease prevented by the DTaP and Tdap vaccines is tetanus. This bacterial infection produces a toxin in the body that causes painful muscle contractions.
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Tetanus is also called “lockjaw” because it often causes the neck and jaw muscles to tighten, making it hard to open your mouth or swallow.
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Tetanus can cause serious health problems and, even, death. Up to 2 in 10 people with tetanus will die.
Drawing of words Pertussis also known as whooping cough erased and then drawing of a person coughing
Pertussis is the third disease prevented by the DTaP and Tdap vaccines.
Also known as whooping cough, pertussis is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by bacteria.
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It can affect people of all ages but is most dangerous for babies.
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The final vaccine-preventable disease we’re going to look at today is rotavirus, which is very contagious and often affects babies and young children.
- Drawing of child in hospital bed hooked up to IV
Rotavirus is serious and can lead to both hospitalization and death.
Drawing of words RotaTeq and Rotarix
There are two vaccines available in the U.S. that help prevent rotavirus. They’re called RotaTeq and Rotarix.
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Both rotavirus vaccines are given to babies in two or three oral doses.
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The most important thing to remember about all of these diseases is that, while they are under control, they haven’t gone away.
But 51 million deaths can be prevented through immunization between 2021 and 2030.
Drawing of a smiling pharmacist behind a counter with a sign reading “Vaccines available here” on it
Vaccines are one of the safest and easiest ways to protect yourself and your family.
In addition to a healthcare provider’s office, many vaccines are available at your local pharmacy or public health department.
Talk to your provider about what vaccines you need to be up to date!
For more information, please visit HealthyWomen.org
This resource was created with support from Merck.