Risk of influenza, whooping cough, diphtheria, and tetanus in adults – VnExpress

Adults, especially pregnant women, the elderly, people with underlying diseases, are susceptible to infection, and get worse with influenza, whooping cough, diphtheria, and tetanus if they have not been vaccinated.

According to BS.CKI Bach Thi Chinh, Medical Director of VNVC Immunization System, adults often go out, have wide social contact, plus years of not being vaccinated, making the immune system weak, so they are easy to catch diseases. Infectious diseases, including influenza, whooping cough, and diphtheria, are especially dangerous when co-infected with Covid-19.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), each year, influenza causes 290,000-650,000 deaths globally, with an adult incidence rate of 5-20%. In 2017 alone, 38,000 people died from tetanus and more than 8,800 cases of diphtheria. The world also records about 30-50 million cases and more than 300,000 deaths from pertussis every year. An increasing population of older children and adults with pertussis is reported in many countries, especially infants under 1 year of age and adults 26 years of age.

Adults, including the elderly and people with underlying medical conditions, need to be vaccinated against influenza, pertussis, diphtheria, and tetanus. Photo: VNVC

In Vietnam, these diseases are still a threat to the health and lives of millions of adults. According to the Ministry of Health, on average, more than 800,000 Vietnamese people get flu each year, with the most common viruses being influenza A/H3N2, A/H1N1 and two strains of influenza B/Yamagata and B/Victoria.

In 2020, diphtheria outbreak broke out in the Central Highlands provinces with nearly 200 cases, of which 4 died. Epidemics of pertussis, tetanus, in recent years also caused many deaths for both children and adults. From 2015 to now, the number of tetanus cases in Vietnam has always been reported with more than 350 cases annually.

Dr. Chinh warned that these diseases all have high mortality rates, which can easily lead to complications such as pneumonia, bronchitis, asthma, myocarditis… even death if not treated promptly. The disease is more dangerous if it is co-infected with Covid-19. Especially pregnant women, the elderly, people with chronic diseases, if co-infected with Covid-19 and respiratory diseases are more likely to have more severe complications, a high risk of death, due to severe lung damage.

However, at present, the above diseases have not yet received adequate attention from the people and actively prevented with vaccines.

“Any age can catch the flu, whooping cough, diphtheria, tetanus. So it’s very important to protect and strengthen the immune system with vaccines. Adults need multiple vaccines to protect themselves. Vaccines such as influenza, pertussis – diphtheria – tetanus may have been given before, but in adulthood and older, they still need to be vaccinated again, because Immune system has been weakened,” said Dr. Chinh.

The risk of infectious diseases in adults and the role of influenza, pertussis – diphtheria – tetanus vaccines for this population will be discussed at the online talk show with the topic ” Vaccination against influenza, pertussis – diphtheria – tetanus for adults. The program had the participation of BS.CKI Bach Thi Chinh, Medical Director, VNVC Immunization System and MSc Do Cao Van Anh, Deputy Head of Infection Department, Pham Ngoc Thach University of Medicine.

The program is part of the online seminar series “Vaccines for adults – The unknown”, organized by VnExpress newspaper in collaboration with VNVC Immunization System. Readers can submit questions to the experts here.

Mr. Ngoc


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