Dangerous Diseases: Back From Extinction?

Vaccines have reduced or eliminated many infectious diseases that have harmed or killed millions of people. Pfizer's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Freda Lewis-Hall joins ER physician Dr. Travis Stork to talk about the ways that vaccines work, the benefits of vaccination and when it's time to make sure you are up to date on your vaccinations.

"The way to get the best benefit out of vaccines is to make sure that you have taken the whole recommended series for the vaccination," Dr. Lewis-Hall explains. "And it isn't just kids or students that should make sure they are up to date on their vaccinations. Adults really need to pay attention to this."

Pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears answers a pressing vaccination question from a student.

More on measles:
• Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus.
• Symptoms include: fever, cough, runny nose and watery eyes. A rash develops after a few days and lasts about a week.
• For the prevention of measles and mumps, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends two doses of MMR vaccine routinely for children. The first dose should be administered at age 12 through 15 months, and the second at age 4 through 6 years.
• Two doses are recommended for adults at high risk for exposure and transmission; such as students attending colleges or other post-high school educational institutions, healthcare personnel, and international travelers. One dose is recommended for other adults aged 18 years and older.
• Measles still kills an estimated 164,000 people each year around the world.

Polio facts:
• Polio is a potentially deadly infectious disease caused by a virus that spreads from person to person, invading the brain and spinal cord and causing paralysis.
• Approximately 72 percent of persons infected with polio will have no symptoms.
• About 24 percent of infected persons have minor symptoms, such as fever, fatigue, nausea, headache, flu-like symptoms, stiffness in the neck and back, and pain in the limbs, which often resolve completely.
• Fewer than 1 percent of polio cases result in permanent paralysis of the limbs. Of those paralyzed, 5 to 10 percent die when the paralysis strikes the respiratory muscles.
• There are two types of vaccine that can prevent polio: inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) and oral polio vaccine (OPV). Only IPV has been used in the United States since 2000. OPV is still used throughout much of the world. 
• Children should be vaccinated with 4 doses of inactivated polio vaccine at the following ages: 2 months, 4 months, 6-18 months and 4-6 years.
• Most adults do not need the polio vaccine because they were vaccinated as children.
• Three groups of adults are at higher risk and should recieve polio vaccinations: travelers to high-risk areas, lab workers handling specimens that may contain polio virus, and healthcare workers in contact with polio virus patients.

Source: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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