Jaundice and vaccination
Jaundice and vaccination
Jaundice, hepatitis professionally, is an inflammatory disease of the liver caused by viral infection. This is serious contagious disease of the liver tissue. We distinguish between different types of jaundice which are marked by the letters A to G. The most common include hepatitis A, B and C. Hepatitis A and B can be prevented by vaccination. Children are vaccinated against hepatitis B since 2001 in the first year of life and children born earlier in the twelfth year. Vaccination against hepatitis A is in both children and adults voluntary. There are also combined vaccines against hepatitis A and B. Hepatitis C vaccine is still not available.
Vaccination against hepatitis A
Hepatitis A is generally known as a disease of dirty hands. It is transmitted by direct contact with infected person, contaminated objects or by ingestion of contaminated water and food. Hepatitis A could easily occur in institutional households and in places with poor sanitation. The source is a sick person even before the discovery of first symptoms so there is a rapid and uncontrolled spread of the disease and often can arise epidemics. This disease is also one of the most common infectious diseases acquired while traveling abroad and the risk of getting an infection is increased with decreasing level of hygiene. The only reliable protection against this infection is vaccination. It is possible to have vaccinated children from 1 year. The vaccination schedule consists of two doses, the second of which is served from 6 to 12 months after the first dose. The protection starts after 2-4 weeks after the first dose and it is long-term. It is also advisable to vaccinate adults with reinforcing dose who are exposed to increased risk of infection. This means, for persons traveling to areas with a high incidence of hepatitis C, i.e. Africa, Asia, the Middle East, the Mediterranean and South America. Similarly, vaccination is recommended for soldiers traveling to endemic areas or among physicians. During vaccination is weakened virus injected into the body what induces the body's immune response. We are talking about so-called active immunization. In the case of infection with hepatitis C is it easier for our immune system to recognize the virus earlier and defensive reaction can develop faster.
Vaccination against hepatitis B
Hepatitis B is transmitted through blood, application of common sanitary products, sexual intercourse and also during pregnancy from mother to child. The course is more serious than in hepatitis A and may also pass into the chronic stage and later can cause liver cirrhosis or in worst liver cancer. Since 2001 are all children vaccinated against this type of jaundice. Vaccinated are also people who come into contact with human biological material, i.e. medical staff, patients with hemodialysis treatment, patients waiting for transplants and neonates who were infected during pregnancy from the mother. The vaccine can also be used in the event of accidental contact with risk patient or injury by infected object such as a needle. Primary vaccination consists of three doses. Patient is inoculated in selected date, one month after the first dose and last dose is after six months. Duration of protection is approximately 10 to 15 years. Even in this case, we talking about attenuated vaccine that induces an immune response in a patient.
Combined vaccine against hepatitis A and B
It is also possible to use a combined vaccine against both types of jaundice. Vaccination is also carried out in three doses at selected date, after one month and six months after the first dose. In adults, we can accelerate this process and vaccine can be given at an elected date and then at 7th and 21st day after first application. In this case, fourth booster dose is recommended in 12 months after the first injection.
Side effects of vaccination
Sometimes we meet with local, general or unusual reactions after vaccination. Among local reactions include redness, swelling and pain at the injection site. General reactions after vaccination against hepatitis include fever, headache, joint and muscle pain. Among the unusual reactions include abscess at the injection site, thus a bounded pus-filled cavity. Further irritation of the meninges or brain inflammation.
Contraindications to vaccination
Contraindications are all the circumstances that prevent the execution of a diagnostic or therapeutic procedure. We never vaccinate individuals with a congenital disorder of the immune system, malignancy or in patients with a history of complications after the vaccination. We should be more cautious in patients with neurological diseases in the active stage or in persons treated with corticosteroids or immunosuppressant medication.
Vaccination against hepatitis as prevention
Jaundice affects all of us. The risk of infection in common life is much bigger than we admit. Approximately half of the people do not know how they became infected. To transmit hepatitis A is enough an mere handshake from infected person. An exception makes vaccinated persons who acquired immunity and are resistant to these infections. For long-term protection is necessary to complete the full vaccination course. Vaccination is an opportunity how not to underestimate risk of this disease and how to protect our most valuable asset we have, our health.