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Powerpoint Presentation: Defence Against Disease
Powerpoint Presentation: The Immunity
Powerpoint Presentation: The Monoclonal Antibodies

 

Animal Physiology Index

The Nervous System and Movement
Muscle contraction
The Nerve Impluse
The Synapse
The Major Factors controlling the Heartbeat
Reproduction
Digestion
The Alimentary Canal or Gut

Topic Chapters Index

Defence Against Disease Index

Defence Against Disease
Infectious disease
Immunity
Monoclonal Antibodies
PDF download: The Immune System

Vaccines a victim of their own success?

As infectious diseases become rarer in a population the attention of parents tends to be focussed on the problems with vaccines. They become reluctant to vaccinate their children or they become complacent about the risk of infection.

When measles vaccination rates went down in 1990 in the United States, there was an outbreak of 28 000 cases of measles, and 30 children died.

 

ANIMAL PHYSIOLOGY

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Vaccines and Vaccination

Vaccination is a prophylactic treatment used to fight infections that the body may encounter in the future. Some however (e.g. rabies) are used as post infection vaccination.

The principle is to stimulate the immune system by exposing it to harmless antigens.

The immune response leaves memory cells so that when the real infection by a pathogen takes place the immune response is rapid and the body resists.

 

A typical immune response to vaccination

A typical immune response to vaccination

Vaccines come in several forms:

  • Purified antigens from the pathogen

  • Dead pathogens or parts of pathogens

  • Live but attenuated (harmless) pathogens

 

Memory is not perfect and so booster vaccination may be necessary.

Because of complications with certain vaccines the types of vaccination given is usually limited to those diseases that are endemic to the region.

 

The benefits and dangers of vaccination

Benefits

  • Vaccination has helped to cut infantile death rates in many parts of the world

  • Some diseases (e.g. small pox) have been eliminated totally. Others (e.g. polio) are programmed for elimination.

  • Vaccination has helped to contain the spread of a number of diseases.

  • Vaccines are a cheap form of prophylactic treatment.

Dangers

  • Live vaccines containing attenuated (harmless viruses may "jump" to another virus in the system (e.g. attenuate live polio virus given to a person contaminated with HIV may develop polio). Even close members of the family may be affected this way.

  • Vaccines may lead to allergic responses or auto immune diseases e.g. Crohn's disease (inflammation of the digestive system) and MMR vaccination

  • Vaccines have been associated with clinical conditions (e.g. MMR and autism). MMR is a triple vaccine for Mumps, Measles and Rubella (German measles). It usually contains a small amount of mercury. Some argue that this mercury acts as a neurotoxin.

  • Multiple vaccinations received by soldiers fighting in the Gulf War 1991 are associated with a number of health problems (The Gulf War Syndrome):

▪ Chronic Fatigue
▪ Skin rashes and unusual hair loss)
▪ Headache
▪ Muscle pain
▪ Neurological signs or symptoms (nervous system disorders which could manifest themselves in numbness in one's arm, for instance)
▪ Neuropsychological signs or symptoms (including memory loss)
▪ Signs or symptoms involving upper or lower respiratory system
▪ Sleep disturbances
▪ Gastrointestinal signs or symptoms (including recurrent diarrhoea and constipation)
▪ Cardiovascular signs or symptoms
▪ Menstrual disorders

 

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