Archive for July, 2012

Childhood Immunization in the Philippines

This is the most recent immunization schedule for Filipino children.  You often see this chart in your pediatrician’s clinic or in most baby books given to parents by doctors.  So, what do we know about vaccines?  The Philippine Pediatric Society (PPS) has come up with an article answering questions most commonly asked by parents about IMMUNIZATION.

1.  What are vaccines?  Why are vaccinations important?

Vaccines are substances that are composed of either a part of or the whole organism, given through different routes, to prevent an infectious disease.  Although  vaccines are manufactured using disease-causing organisms, these, viruses/bacteria  are destroyed or weakened, so that when administered, allows the immune system of the body to defend itself against the disease.  Thus, symptoms are either prevented or minimized.

Vaccines are important because they prevent disease in people who receive them and are responsible for the control of many infectious disease that are still common in our country.  Since the advent of vaccines, a significant number of childhood morbidities and deaths had been prevented.

2.  Isn’t the protection provided by the disease better than the protection provided by the vaccine?

In most cases, vaccines provide the same quality of protection as getting the disease itself with the advantage of avoiding the disease’s complications and the risk of death.

3.  Who needs to be immunized?

Although most people consider immunizations as being required mainly for children, it is important to understand that school-aged children, teenagers and even adults need vaccines to acquire protection for diseases which they are susceptible to or, to boost their immunity for diseases which they were previously immunized.

4.  Who should not receive vaccines?

There are very few individuals who should not be vaccinated.  These include persons who have problems with their immune system, or those who have had severe, life-threatening reactions to certain vaccines or their components.  Your doctor can provide advice if you belong to these categories.

5.  What are the recommended vaccines?

The Philippine Pediatric Society, Pediatric Infectious Disease Society of the Philippines and the Philippine Foundation for Vaccination recommended the following vaccines for children.  Since vaccines may have different schedules, your doctor will discuss which schedule is best for your child.

There are other vaccines that may be recommended by your doctor.

6.  What do I expect to happen after immunization?  Is there anything I can do to help my child?

Side effects may occur with any medicine including vaccines.  In most cases, vaccines cause no side effects other than mild reactions such as fever, rash or soreness at the injection site.  Slight discomfort is normal and should not be a cause for alarm.

Very rarely, some experience extremely serious side effects.  After vaccination, look for unusual conditions like high fever or behavioral changes.  Signs of serious allergic reactions when present usually occurs within 30 minutes of the vaccination and include difficulty of breathing, hoarseness, or wheezing, hives, pallor, weakness, a fast heartbeat, dizziness and throat swelling.

Your doctor will advise you about fever and pain medications that can help your child with the mild reactions.  Consult your doctor right away if you notice any unusual signs and symptoms.

7.  My 10 year old son was advised several years ago that his immunization was complete except for the yearly flu and teenage vaccines.  However, I have recently been told that he needs a second shot of chickenpox vaccine. Why?

Recent studies have shown that the protection from a single dose of chickenpox vaccine wanes after several years, making the patient susceptible to the actual disease.  A second dose will further increase the level of protection afforded by the vaccines.

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July 27, 2012 at 1:59 pm 1 comment

CAMBODIA MYSTERY VIRUS: How Are We Affected?

Last July 6, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a medical bulletin regarding the mystery disease that was reported by the Ministry of Health of the Kingdom of Cambodia. In the initial report, the country had a total of 74 cases of hospitalized patients from April to first week of July. Fifty- seven of the cases presented with similar symptoms of fever, respiratory and neurologic symptoms, 56 of which had died within 24 hours from admission. Children from age 3 months to 11 years were the ones affected by the suspected deadly virus. Majority were under 3 years old and with an overall male to female ratio of 1.3:1. The victims were mostly from the southern and central parts of Cambodia and received treatments from a pediatric reference hospital, Katha Bopha Children’s Hospital in Phnom Penh.

The Ministry of Health together with WHO and the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have been doing investigations on what was causing the mysterious illness. Samples taken from patients were tested at Institut Pasteur du Cambodge. They tested negative for H5N1 (Avian flu), SARS, and Nipah virus. By July 9, reports showed that samples were positive to Enterovirus 71 (EV-71), a virus causing the mild and commonly-occurring  in children, the Hand, Foot and Mouth disease or HFMD. Other organisms identified were dengue virus, haemophilus influenza type B , and streptococcus suis bacteria.  As of July 13, a total of 78 cases were identified and 61 of these fitted the criteria for EV-71, of which 54 died.  At present, they have strengthened their surveillance and has apparently contained it’s spread.  Kindergartens and primary schools in Cambodia were ordered tclose temporarily.

Being a neighboring country of Cambodia, the Philippines has been forewarned to perform necessary actions to prevent probable spread of the said virus. The Department of Health (DOH) has tasked the National Epidemiology Center and the Bureau of Quarantine to do surveillance of the disease to prevent it from entering and spreading in the country. The public has been advised to refrain from traveling to Cambodia; to take the necessary precautions if  travel is imperative; and to report to public health officers once similar symptoms are experienced after visiting the country.  Likewise, the airports have been advised to screen in-bound passengers from Cambodia for fever using thermal scan. As of July 10, the DOH made Enterovirus 71 infection a notifiable disease, which will enforce reporting of identified cases by hospitals, physicians and other health providers. Parents are also advised to seek medical consult if their children develop high grade fever, vomiting, limb weakness or paralysis, and impaired consciousness or drowsiness.

EV-71 is a virus causing extreme types of illnesses, from the mild, more common HFMD to a severe, rare encephalitis (infection of the brain) and polio-like paralysis type of disease that is fatal. It is this encephalitis type of EV-71 that caused the outbreak in Cambodia. HFMD is a self-limiting illness manifesting as fever with painful sores in the mouth, rash with blisters on hands, feet and buttocks.  It is transmitted from person to person by direct contact with oral and nasal secretions, fluid from blisters, and stools of infected persons.  There is no treatment nor vaccine for this disease, only symptomatic treatment such as paracetamol for fever and increasing fluid intake.  Preventive and control measures are very vital which includes regular hand washing & personal hygiene especially after diaper changing, proper disposal of diapers or human waste, and regular cleaning of toys of children particularly in day care centers.

Last July 17, news broke that 2 Filipino children tested positive for EV in the investigations being conducted in Research Institute of Tropical Medicine (RITM) but further studies were still being done to confirm if it has the same strain with that in Cambodia. The DOH, however, did not continue informing the public of new cases to avoid unnecessary panic.

The latest DOH update released July 20, confirmed that 1 patient tested positive for EV-1. Initially, there were 8 suspected HFMD cases diagnosed from July 10-14 who underwent screening test using throat, stool, and vesicular fluid specimens. All of them developed mild disease of fever followed by skin lesions on hands, soles of feet and mouth, of which, 5 were admitted in the hospital. Only 1 was female, and their ages ranged from 1-29 years old. Six of them were from Region 4-A (Calabarzon) and 2 from Davao. Six out of 8 were positive in the screening test and only 1 was positive in the confirmatory test. The patient is a 1 year and 7 months old boy from Davao City who developed symptoms last July 6 and has now recovered.  He had no history of travel to Cambodia and there were no other cases reported in their household and their community.

The DOH National Epidemiology Center gathered representative physicians of hospital and medical societies for an orientation on the Guidelines in the Surveillance and Clinical Case Management of HFMD. Meanwhile, the public is constantly being reminded to take all necessary precautions to prevent development and control spread of the disease.

©pinoykidsMD

July 19, 2012 at 5:07 pm 2 comments

Revamping of Pinoy Kids MD Website

Hello Philippines! Pinoy kids MD is back in a new website! The idea of putting up this site to promote, educate, and increase awareness of Filipino citizens about their child’s heath started June of last year.  Because of some reasons, updates were put to a halt in the previous site.  However, the advocacy continued thru other popular social media like facebook and twitter. Updates on this site will still be linked to our facebook page, Pinoy kids MD, and to our twitter account, @pinoykidsMD.

Everything under the sun concerning child health care will be discussed in this site.  Articles will be categorized into  HEALTH ALERT for current medical concerns; DISEASE SPOTLIGHT to discuss particular diseases; DENGUE WATCH to keep us updated of this all-year life-threatening illness; VACCINE UPCLOSE to promote prevention through immunization; and FEATURE ARTICLE for helpful tips on disease prevention and everything else concerning the health of children from newborns to teenagers.  With the new web address and design, Pinoy kids MD is off to a fresh start! (more…)

July 17, 2012 at 5:10 pm Leave a comment


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