The DPT Vaccination

Pertussis of known as whooping cough is primarily caused by the bacterium Bordatella Pertussis, which is similar to measles in terms of its mode of transmission, particularly via the respiratory route. The condition is highly contagious especially within a household and in crowded institutional settings. In classic cases of pertussis, nonspecific respiratory tract syndromes are followed by severe and protracted bouts of coughing that typically end with an inspiratory whooping sound; hence, the name whooping cough was connoted (Merson, 2004 p.147).

Humans are the only reservoir of infection; hence, in most susceptible populations, pertussis is primarily a disease of children younger than the age of 5 years although infection incidence is increasing among adults (Rubin & Strayer, 2007 p. 308). These bouts of coughing can persist for 4 to 5 weeks and be quite debilitating, even when complications such as pneumonia and neurologic damage do not develop.

Antibiotic treatment has little or no impact on natural course of the disease once symptoms have begun its progression and manifestation; although, it has been noted that such treatment might shorten the time of the infectious stage of the individual (Merson, 2004 p. 147). Lastly, the condition of tetanus, which is primarily caused by the C. tetani, is one of the comprising elements of DPT. The organism C. tetani is commonly shed in the excreta of humans and other animals.

Its spores are ubiquitous in the environment, and they enter the body through puncture wounds, compound fractures, or wounds through blank cartridges and fireworks. In the United States about 50 cases per year are reported to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), while worldwide counts exceed up to 1 million (Rowland, 2005 p. 260). According to worldwide statistics provided by WHO, almost 50% of the tetanus patients are neonates due to non-sterile birthing technique. In the United States, CDC has pointed the primary most common occurrence on narcotic addicts.

The incubation period is usually between 5 and 10 days, which can be as short as 3 days or as long as 3 weeks. The severity of the disease usually is greater when the incubation period is short. The signs and symptoms involve localized spasms, facial paralysis, opthalmoplegia, and prominently, lack-jaw (Rowland, 2005 p. 260). Immunization, also called vaccination or inoculation, is a method of administering microorganisms, bacteria, or viruses that have been modified or killed to protect humans from disease.

DPT vaccine is administered through parenteral route particularly through intramuscular in vastus lateralis muscle site. Gluteal administration is not recommended in infants and children due to the risk of injuring the sciatic nerve. Upon administration of the inactivated pathogen, the immune system responds by increasing the antibodies responsible for future halting of the introduced pathogen (Hutchinson, 2003 p. 124).

In the early 1950s, the development of DPT vaccine has struggled into extensive research and modifications. During this time, around 170,000 individuals are estimated to be dying every year due to the three conditions, most especially diphtheria for adults, and tetanus and pertussis for children. During the span of vaccine research and process of discovery, many involved physicians, and researchers have died due to the exposure of the pathogen, most especially pertussis.

The discovery of DPT vaccine occurred in this year, and in the mid-1960s, many states had laws requiring DPT vaccination, most of them insuring compliance by making the vaccination a requirement for entry into elementary school. The government conducted immunization assistance programs in order to establish and encourage further citizen vaccination-participations (Coulter & Fisher, 1991 p. 199). In 1965, the United States Congress passed the Immunization Assistance Act setting up a categorical grant program to states and large metropolitan areas to establish immunization programs.

However, DPT vaccine was not included even up to the current time, presumably because it was already being used and relatively inexpensive. Under the Immunization Assistance Act, in order to get federal funds, the states must apply for the funds and indicate how they will be spent. The grants may pay for purchase of any of the specified vaccines, or the state may request a CDC public health advisor to assist the state health department in implementing its vaccination program (Coulter & Fisher, 1991 p. 199).

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