Volume 29 Number 2
By Frank Hubbell, DO
The use of vaccines to prevent disease has been around for over 80 years and the number of vaccines has grown to over 25. For some individuals this is an area of confusion, debate, and disagreement. The reality is that vaccines are very well-studied and profoundly safe to use. As with any medication, there are risks, but the risks are far out-weighed by the benefits of not getting that particular disease.
I doubt there is anyone on this planet that would want to see the return of small pox or an increase in the cases of polio, or diphtheria. It is the vaccination process that builds up immunity to these diseases by stimulating the immune system to make antibodies to defeat the illness before it could cause symptoms and potentially death. However, there are those who, for whatever reason, refuse to be vaccinated, thereby putting themselves and others at risk.
To follow are a series of articles that will discuss and explain the various vaccine-preventable diseases and the consequences of acquiring that particular illness for which the vaccine was created. As stated above, currently, there are a total of 25 vaccines to prevent disease. For no particular reason, we will start with diphtheria.
A vaccine-preventable disease.
It is caused by a bacterium – Corynebacterium diphtheria.
It is an aerobic, gram-positive bacillus.
The reservoir in nature is us, human carriers.
The primary vector is droplet-spread through the air by coughing and sneezing.
There are toxigenic and non-toxigenic forms of diphtheria.