Diseases Diseases

Small Pox Diseases In Children

 Believed to have originated about 3 centuries ago in either India or Egypt, Small pox is a contagious disease unique to humans only. It has proved to be one of the very devastating ones over time. The largest percentage of victims, either survivors or those who gave away to the disease, consisted of children. It is caused by the Variola virus which branches into further two forms: Variola major and Variola minor. Variola minor is a milder course and the mortality rate was 1% of the total victims. On the other hand, the mortality rate in the case of Variola major jacked up to 30-35% before vaccinations were founded for the infection. It was becoming clear the infant deaths at such a high rate could change the course of history. It wasn’t until the 19th century that the Spanish organized an expedition to provide vaccine to Spanish colonies. Later, the United States and United Kingdom also ensured safe small pox vaccination shots were available to their people.

 In the absence of immunity induced by vaccination, human beings appear to be universally susceptible to infection with the smallpox virus. Various forms of the infection in children are alastrim, cotton pox, white pox, Cuban itch and milk pox- the last one specifically named for its white appearance. Anyone who is exposed to an infected person and has not taken the vaccination shots is prone to catch this virus. The disease can be transmitted through coughing and sneezing. Sharing of utensils and contact with skin lesions caused by the disease may also infect others. Primary symptoms for children are fever and chills accompanied by muscle ashes and skin rashes, mainly on hands, feet and abdomen. This stage is followed by head ache, vomiting and nausea. The temperature falls in 2-3 days but sooner or later, it returns and the sudden appearance of characteristic rash on the back area, neck and abdomen results, too. Lesions, too, develop in the mucous membranes of the nose and mouth. The skin rash turns into fluid-filled blisters over time. Lesions may progress to pustules. In severe cases, blindness because of a lot of scarring on face area may result. Limb deformities due to arthritis may also result, leaving the patient handicapped for life.

 Thankfully, the WHO found out just the right cure for the disease by 1950. Parents should take special care to vaccinate their children at the age and time as per the schedule provided by the WHO. Vaccination usually prevents smallpox infection for at least ten years. If symptoms appear, they are milder and mortality is less in a vaccinated child than in a non-vaccinated one. In cases where the child is vaccinated, he/she is less likely to transmit a disease even if the immunity has waned. The WHO has provided special instructions for vaccine administration using the bifurcated (forked) needle only. Site of vaccination, preparation of skin before insertion of needle, method of insertion, sterilization of needle and storage of unused vaccine are specifically warned areas as per the instructions provided by the WHO.

Tips and comments:

 It is essential that parents get their children vaccinated for small pox as even the dab of the virus can cause a person to get handicapped or may even cause death. I believe children are the future of any country and their protection is vital for this purpose. It is their work that is to destine the country into doom or the opposite. It is, therefore, indispensable to save the children of the world from such misery.

By Ahsan Bashir, published at 07/14/2011
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