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Poliomyelitis (Polio)

Poliomyelitis (Polio) is a highly contagious viral infection that can cause lifelong paralysis, and was once widely fatal. Although there has been no known local transmission of the poliovirus in Australia for the past 30 years, there remains a risk of the importation of polio from overseas – and vaccination of children remains critical.

Polio is spread mainly through contact with infected faeces, leading to gastrointestinal (stomach and gut) infection by one of the three types of polioviruses. Poliovirus infection may progress to paralysis or meningitis (inflammation of the membranes enclosing the brain). About one in 20 people hospitalised with polio die from it, and half of those who survive suffer permanent paralysis.

The virus spreads between people through contact with infected faeces and, less commonly, with infected saliva.

In 90% of cases, polio has no symptoms. If symptoms do occur, they can take between three and 21 days after infection to show. These symptoms can include: headache, nausea and vomiting, tiredness, neck and back stiffness, severe muscle pain, and paralysis.

Vaccination has been highly effective in reducing the incidence of polio worldwide, and the World Health Organization-led Global Polio Eradication Initiative is currently targeting a polio-free world by 2018.

Polio vaccination is recommended as part of routine immunisation for Australian children. The polio vaccine is free under the National Immunisation Program Schedule. To receive polio immunisation, visit your local doctor or immunisation provider. It is important to note that although the vaccine is provided at no cost, a consultation fee may apply.

Doses of vaccine are given at two, four and six months of age, with a booster dose at 4 years. Immunisation against polio is achieved using single-disease or combination vaccines.

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Bexsero - Meningococcus B Vaccine
Meningococcus is a bacteria that is like the shark attack of the infectious world. It strikes with very little warning, death can occur and there is risk of losing a limb or two. Penicillin can fix it, but detecting it early is impossible. There are a 13 serotypes designated letters such as A, B, and C.

Type B causes 80% of disease in Australia is responsible for nearly all the deaths. Type C has had an effective vaccine since 2003. But type B has a large number of strains which has made vaccine development difficult until now.

Bexsero is the name given to the new vaccine and it covers around 80% of Meningococcus B strains in Australia and other parts of the World. It is not yet on the standard schedule but is recommended and can be obtained privately.

Based on their higher disease risk, 4CMenB is recommended for these groups:

  • Infants and young children, particularly those aged <24 months
  • Adolescents aged 15 to 19 years
  • Children and adults with medical conditions that place them at a high risk of IMD, such as functional or anatomical asplenia or complement component disorders
  • Laboratory personnel who frequently handle Neisseria meningitidis.

For infants aged <6 months, 3 primary doses of 4CMenB plus a booster at age 12 months are recommended. Fewer doses are required for older age groups.

4CMenB may be given to infants at the same time as other infant vaccines that are given under the NIP, but must be given at a separate injection site. The 1st dose of 4CMenB may be administered as early as 6 weeks of age to align with the NIP infant schedule.

More from www.immunise.health.gov.au

The increasing demand for Bexsero across the world means that supply of the vaccine to Australia is constrained and will be unavailable until early 2017. [au.gsk.com]

The information in the above were collected from the internet,
either from government websites or from reasonably reliable health information sources.
They are for general information only and should not replace the need of seeking medical care during illnesses.

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