Adult Vaccine Preventable Diseases
Influenza is a contagious respiratory virus. Symtoms include: fever or feeling feverish, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle of body aches, headaches and fatigue. Children are more likely to experience vomiting and diarrhea.
Direct costs of seasonal influenza alone total more than $10.4 billion, which includes 3.1 million hospital days, and 31.4 million outpatient doctors visits. Indirectly, seasonal influenza costs millions of dollars in reduced productivity and lost work days. Vaccinating employees against the seasonal flu can save $66.44 in direct and indirect costs per person (in 2007 dollars), or $6,644 per 100 employees.
Prevention: Influenza vaccine
Frequency: Individuals should receive the vaccine every flu season. It protects from the three most common influenza viruses of the season.
Tetanus is a disease affecting the nervous system. It is caused by bacteria that enter the body through a cut in the skin, but is not transmissible person to person. Tetanus may follow elective surgery, burns, deep puncture wounds, crush wounds, otitis media (ear infections), dental infection, and animal bites. Symptoms include lockjaw, stiffness in the neck and abdomen, difficulty swallowing, muscle spasms, nervous system disorders and death in about 1 out of 10 patients.
Prevention: DTaP (Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis) vaccine
Frequency: Adults should receive the vaccine/booster shot once every 10 years.
Diphtheria is a respiratory disease caused by bacteria that is extremely rare in the United States but is still endemic in other parts of the world. It can be spread through coughing or sneezing and contaminated foods or objects. The recovery is slow and infected individuals can remain contagious anywhere from 4 days to 4 weeks. Although it’s rare here, unvaccinated individuals can still contract it from abroad. Employees should receive the vaccine if they are traveling to a country where it is prevalent.
Frequency: Adults should receive the vaccine/booster shot once every 10 years.
Pertussis (Whooping Cough)
Pertussis is a bacterial respiratory illness. It is usually spread from person-to-person through close contact, like an office setting, where when someone coughs or sneezes respiratory droplets are released. Early symptoms of pertussis are similar to the common cold and include runny nose, sneezing, and a low-grade fever. However, it includes severe spasms of coughing which become progressively worse and can last for several weeks or even for months.
Pertussis, or whopping cough, is one of the most commonly occurring vaccine preventable diseases in the United States. It is highly contagious and in the last decade, there has been a rise in incidence in all age groups. It is associated with a prolonged or severe cough, which can last anywhere from weeks to months. According to the CDC, the reported number of cases, in 2005, was over 25,000, but a vast majority goes unreported, with some experts estimating the actual number of cases to be one to three million.
Shingles is a painful skin rash caused by the same virus that causes chicken pox, the varicella zoster virus. Anyone who has had chicken pox may contract shingles; however shingles is not spread from person to person. The virus lies dormant in your body, but for some reason and for some adults, the virus reactivates and shingles occur. Symptoms can include fever, headache, chills, upset stomach, and a painful skin rash of blistering lesions. Shingles is most common in people over 60 and people who are immunocompromised.
Prevention: Adults over 60 should receive the zoster vaccine
Frequency: Once for those over the age of 60.
Measles, Mumps, and Rubella
Measles are a viral infection of the respiratory system which spreads through coughing and sneezing. It starts with a fever and is followed by cough, runny nose or pink eye.
Although it is very rare in the United States, measles is common in other regions of the world. Recent outbreaks in the U.S. include one in 2008, when it spread to 15 states. The diease can originate and spread from both the developing and developed world. According to the CDC, a number of the 2008 cases can be tracked to travelers coming from countries like Switzerland and Israel. Outbreaks occur when travelers bring the virus to the U.S. and spread the infection to unvaccinated individuals.
Mumps is a viral infection that affects thr salivary glands. It is spread through close contact of an infected person. Symptoms include: fever, headache, muscle ache, tiredeness, loss of appetite, and swelling near jaw line.
Since the introduction of the mumps vaccine in 1967, cases of mumps in the U.S. have been declining. It remains endemic in other countries because only 58% (of World Health Organization member countries) use the vaccine. The MMR vaccine protects individuals from measles, mumps and rubella. Employees may travel to a country where the vaccine is rarely used, therefore, it is important to determine if your employees have been vaccinated with MMR and if not, ensure they obtain the vaccine.
Rubella is a viral infection that is spread through air or close contact of an infected person. Symptoms include fever, headache, runny nose and rash.
Prevention: MMR vaccine
Frequency: One shot delivered to children at age 12-15 months and the second shot recommended for children age 4-6. It is also recommended for any adult worker born during or after 1957 who has not had mumps or has not received the MMR vaccine.
Pneumococcal pneumonia is caused by a bacteria that affects the lungs. This type of pneumonia is spread person to person through coughing, sneezing, or contact with respiratory secretions. Symptoms include high fever, cough, shortness of breath, rapid breathing and chest pains.
Although the percentage of adults receiving the pneumonia vaccine is on the rise - 42% vaccination rates in 1997 and 61% vaccination rates in 2009 - a significant portion have still not been vaccinated. With 175,000 cases each year, pneumococcal pneumonia is the most common cause of bacterial pneumonia acquired outside of hospitals. The fatality rate is about 5-7% with higher rates of death in the elderly . Adults over 65, children under 2 years and those with certain medical conditions are at highest risk of developing pneomonia.
Prevention: Pneumococcal vaccine
Frequency: Recommended for adults over the age of 65 or adults with chronic health problems. One dose is required.
Hepatitis A is virus that causes inflammation of the liver. It is spread through person to person contact and food and water contamination. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, jaundice.
Hepatitis A is a virus that causes inflammation in the liver. It is spread through person to person contact (infected person does not wash hands properly) and through contaminated foods or water. Fortunately rates of hepatitis A, estimated at 25,000 in 2007, are extremely low in the United States. Unfortunately, in many parts of the world it is quite common and with traveling, people are at higher risk of infection.
Adults with hepatitis A, on average, lose 27 days of work. Annual costs are estimated at $488.8 million. Hepatitis A is the most common VPD in travelers and an easy solution ot preventing an infection is for employees to receive the hepatitis A vaccine, especially if they are traveling to a country where it is endemic.
Prevention: Hepatitis A vaccine.
Frequency: Two doses are recommended for all children, travelers, and those at high risk of infection.
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