Not even the two cases of measles among children in Bady Bassitt, in May of this year, managed to make Rio Preto reach the goal of vaccination coverage against the disease. Despite campaigns on the importance of immunization, at least one in ten parents from Rio de Janeiro still have not taken their one-year-old children to receive a dose of the tetraviral/varicella vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps, rubella and chickenpox.
Last year, vaccination coverage against these diseases was even worse in the city. Data from the Municipal Health Department show that two out of ten children from Rio de Janeiro did not receive the vaccine in 2021. To give you an idea, the vaccination coverage for tetraviral/varicella was 80%, and that recommended by the Ministry of Health is 95%.
Michela Dias Barcelos, immunization manager in Rio Preto, points out that although people underestimate some diseases, they can all kill. This is the case of chickenpox, for example, which has killed children in Rio Preto, Votuporanga and Novo Horizonte in recent years. “No disease can be underestimated, we know that some people can develop a higher risk than others. Hence the importance of vaccination. In the case of chickenpox, transmission begins well before the skin lesions.”
In shortage throughout Brazil, since 2020, the tetraviral vaccine is being applied in basic health units in the region of Rio Preto, through a conjugated dose of the MMR – measles, mumps and rubella – with the varicella vaccine, which protects against the chickenpox. The application of both vaccines takes place from one year and three months of life.
“The child receives protection in the same way. It is a matter of availability of the immunizer on the market. The important thing is that parents become aware of the importance of vaccinating their children”, advised Michela.
In Brazil, both vaccines available in the public health system are attenuated, that is, they contain live “weakened” measles, rubella, mumps and chickenpox (chickenpox) viruses.
One of the main causes of infant mortality in the past, measles came under control in Brazil, but it again recorded an increase in cases due to the low vaccination coverage.
Viral disease manifests itself acutely, producing changes in the skin. Among the main complications, especially in children under 2 years of age, are respiratory infections, otitis, diarrheal and neurological diseases (encephalitis).
Transmission occurs directly from one person to another, through secretions from the nose and mouth expelled when coughing, breathing or talking.
This virus is more frequent in childhood and produces immunity. The most characteristic symptom, present in 65% of cases, is swelling in the cheeks and jaw, produced by the enlargement of the salivary glands.
The disease causes fever, headache and can affect other glands such as the testicle, which, in more severe episodes, even leads to sterility. In addition, one in ten people can develop viral meningitis (inflammation of the membranes of the brain).
Mass vaccination has helped to significantly reduce the once frequent mumps outbreaks. It is transmitted by contact with droplets of saliva from an infected person.
The classic picture is characterized by the presence of swollen lymph nodes behind the neck, not very high fever, red spots on the body and, occasionally, joint pain. Symptoms are mild in most people
However, even asymptomatic people transmit the virus. If the newly infected person is a pregnant woman, she may have a miscarriage or give birth to a baby with hearing and/or vision impairment, heart damage, brain malformations and mental retardation.
Transmission occurs through aspiration of droplets of saliva or nasal secretions.
Some say that it is better to get chickenpox to “get rid of the disease”. Big mistake! In children, chickenpox is usually benign, yet it causes a lot of discomfort. Making the little ones not scratch their injuries is an almost impossible mission, and the practice can cause wounds and trigger bacterial infection.
Pneumonia and nervous system involvement are other complications and can lead to hospitalization. It is transmitted by contact with saliva or respiratory secretions, skin and mucosal lesions and contaminated objects.
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