What is it and how is it used?
Infanrix Penta is a vaccine used in children to prevent five diseases: diphtheria, tetanus (lockjaw), pertussis (whooping cough), hepatitis B and poliomyelitis (Polio). The vaccine works by causing the body to produce its own protection (antibodies) against these diseases.
- Diphtheria: Diphtheria mainly affects the airways and sometimes the skin. Generally the airways become inflamed (swollen) causing severe breathing difficulties and sometimes suffocation. The bacteria also release a toxin (poison), which can cause nerve damage, heart problems, and even death.
- Tetanus (Lockjaw): Tetanus bacteria enter the body through cuts, scratches or wounds in the skin. Wounds that are especially prone to infection are burns, fractures, deep wounds or wounds contaminated with soil, dust, horse manure/dung or wood splinters. The bacteria release a toxin (poison), which can cause muscle stiffness, painful muscle spasms, fits and even death. The muscle spasms can be strong enough to cause bone fractures of the spine.
- Pertussis (Whooping cough): Pertussis is a highly infectious illness. The disease affects the airways causing severe spells of coughing that may interfere with normal breathing. The coughing is often accompanied by a ?whooping? sound, hence the common name ?whooping cough?. The cough may last for 1-2 months or longer. Pertussis can also cause ear infections, bronchitis which may last a long time, pneumonia, fits, brain damage and even death.
- Hepatitis B: Hepatitis B is caused by the hepatitis B virus. It causes the liver to become swollen (inflamed). The virus is found in body fluids such as blood, semen, vaginal secretions, or saliva (spit) of infected people.
- Poliomyelitis (Polio): Poliomyelitis, sometimes called simply ?polio? is a viral infection that can have variable effects. Often it causes only a mild illness but in some people it causes permanent damage or even death. In its severest form, polio infection causes paralysis of the muscles (muscles cannot move), including those muscles needed for breathing and walking. The limbs affected by the disease may be painfully deformed.
Vaccination is the best way to protect against these diseases. None of the components in the vaccine are infectious.