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Diphtheria is an extremely infectious disease affecting the throat and upper airways, caused by the diphtheria bacterium. The disease is found worldwide and high diphtheria vaccination uptake is required to keep the rates of infection low. It is still prevalent in many countries due to low immunisation levels, especially the Indian Subcontinent, Central and South East Asia, Africa, and South America.
Infection is spread from person to person through coughing or sneezing.
Diphtheria is an extremely serious illness. Treatment is required as soon as the disease is suspected to prevent fatality. The incubation period is 2-5 days and symptoms include fever, sore throat, enlarged glands in the neck. If not treated early, the infection can cause obstruction of the airway and is fatal in 5-10% of cases. Fatality rates are higher in young children and older adults. Damage to the heart muscle and nervous system can also occur with the illness.
Intensive care support is required. Early administration of Diphtheria antitoxin helps reduce fatality, as does antibiotics.
There is a highly effective diphtheria vaccination, which is included in the childhood immunisations programme of most countries.
Price: Combined Diptheria, Tetanus and Polio Vaccination £55
Tetanus is a life-threatening infection caused by a bacteria that is found in the environment worldwide.
The bacteria enters the body through skin wounds or cuts, especially soil contaminated wounds.
The incubation period is 4-21 days. Symptoms are due to muscles spasms and rigidity and include lock jaw and paralysis of the respiratory muscles. Death rates vary from 10% (if good intensive medical care is available) to 90%. Children and older adults are especially vulnerable.
Treatment includes intensive medical care, tetanus Immunoglobulin and wound care.
Vaccination or the Tetanus Shot (Jab) is the mainstay of prevention as it is not possible to eradicate the bacteria from the environment.
Price: Combined Diptheria, Tetanus and Polio Vaccination £45
Poliomyelitis (polio) is a highly infectious viral disease, which mainly affects young children. Since the launch of the Global Eradication Programme led by WHO, the incidence of Polio has fallen by 99% since 1988. The disease is now endemic in 2 countries -Pakistan and Afghanistan. However, sporadic outbreaks still occur due to imported disease or as a result of the oral polio vaccine virus reverting to infectious type.
The virus is transmitted through personal contact and contaminated food and water.
The virus spreads from the gut to the nervous system causing paralysis. Irreversible paralysis occurs in 1 in 200 cases of polio and the death rate is 5-10% due to respiratory failure.
There is no treatment for polio infection and good supportive care is required.
The success of the Polio eradication programme is related to widespread vaccination campaign.
Price: Combined Diptheria, Tetanus and Polio Vaccination £45
Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio are contained in a single combined vaccine. The vaccine is inactivated and contains dead bacteria or virus only and is highly effective at preventing the infections. Immunity does wane over time. Therefore, further vaccinations may be required. Separate vaccines against the diseases are not available in the UK. The Department of Health does not recommend the use of the oral polio vaccine due to the potential risks associated with this live vaccine.
The combined vaccine is give in the UK childhood programme with pertussis (whooping cough) at age 2 months, 3 months and 4 months. Further booster doses are given at 3-5 years of age and again at 14 years of age.
DTP Vaccine (Revaxis)
The vaccine vaccine is the best way to protect against tetanus, diphtheria, and polio, which are serious and sometimes fatal diseases. When you get immunized, you help protect others as well. It can be given to adults and children from 10 years of age travelling to areas where they will be at risk of Tetanus, Polio and Diphtheria infections.
Provided that childhood immunisations are up to date, DTP vaccine only needs to be given as a single dose prior to travel to risk areas. If individuals who have previously been immunised, the vaccine provides immediate protection.
|Age||Method of Administration||Dosing Schedule||Booster dose requirement|
|From 10 yrs of age||Intramuscular injection to the deltoid muscle||1 dose||Booster required every 10 yrs if travelling to developing countries|
Further doses are required at 10 yearly intervals for ongoing risk in travellers.
The vaccine cannot be given:
• To children under 10 years of age. This is because protection is also required against pertussis (whooping cough), which is not covered by the DTP vaccine.
• If there is a history of severe allergic reaction to a previous dose of the vaccine or any of it’s components.
• If there is a history of severe allergic reaction to Neomycin, Streptomycin and Polymyxin B (antibiotics used in the manufacturing process).
• If there is an acute illness associated with fever (greater than 38.5 degrees Celsius).
• If there is an unstable neurological condition, such as uncontrolled epilepsy.
There have been no toxic effects seen when the vaccine has been given to pregnant women. Therefore, the vaccine can be given if there is considered to be significant risk of infection.
The vaccination can be given to breast feeding mothers if there is a clinical indication to do so. Inactivated vaccines have not be shown to cause serious side effects to breast fed infants.
Common Side Effects
• Local injection reactions-pain, swelling, redness and small painless lump can occur.
• Fever, muscle aches, headache, nausea and vomiting can occur.
Interactions with Other Vaccines
The combined can be given at the same time or any time before or after other vaccines including
• Hepatitis A
• Hepatitis B
“I have had persistent neck and shoulder discomfort for some time. Regular visits to my local GP did not help. I was recommended to see Dr Sheila O’Neil who gave me a check-up and recommended that I see her physiotherapist colleague, Vicky Graham. I have had three sessions of physiotherapy and have regained full mobility in my neck and shoulders and feel a great deal better. I am very grateful to Dr Sheila and expect, with my husband, to sign up with her as regular patients.”Mrs Johnston
I would like to thank Dr O’Neill very much for her time today: I get the impression that she is a very caring professional, knowledgeable and reassuring, and that she makes explaining conditions crystal clear, which is exactly what is needed for an anxious patient like myself. The staff that I met were all extremely welcoming, well-groomed and helpful too. Add to this the very relaxing and beautifully scented ambience and it was really a truly positive and pleasant visit. Thank you.Linnea Blair
“Dr. Sheila O’Neill and her team quite literally saved my life. I cannot recommend them highly enough. Diagnosis of a serious condition that had been misdiagnosed by three hospitals took less than 2 weeks, including an MRI. Setting aside the professionalism, they are also just extremely nice people. Imagine a GP that truly cares and will be calling the patient after hours to see how they are getting on – that is what I got from Dr. Sheila O’Neill. There are no superlatives that adequately describe the service. Great. Fantastic. Superb.”GMK Group
We took our 2 year old son in to see Dr O’Neill for a meningitis B vaccination recently. Due to shortages of the vaccine, we had been on a waiting list with a well-known high street pharmacist for months without knowing when they would get stock in. We came across Glasgow Medical Rooms who had the vaccination and we managed to get our son booked in the next day. The clinic was very smart and easy to access in the city centre too. Dr O’Neill was great at dealing with our toddler. It was a relief to get the jabs sorted so quickly and would highly recommend the service to others.”Mrs CrawfordInverclyde