What is it and how is it used?
Tritanrix HepB is a vaccine used in children to prevent four diseases: diphtheria, tetanus (lockjaw), pertussis (whooping cough) and hepatitis B. The vaccine works by causing the body to produce its own protection (antibodies) against these diseases.
- Diphtheria: Diphtheria mainly affects the airways and sometimes the skin. Generally the airways become inflamed (swollen) causing severe breathing difficulties and sometimes suffocation. The bacteria also release a toxin (poison), which can cause nerve damage, heart problems, and even death.
- Tetanus (Lockjaw): Tetanus bacteria enter the body through cuts, scratches or wounds in the skin. Wounds that are especially prone to infection are burns, fractures, deep wounds or wounds contaminated with soil, dust, horse manure/dung or wood splinters. The bacteria release a toxin (poison), which can cause muscle stiffness, painful muscle spasms, fits and even death. The muscle spasms can be strong enough to cause bone fractures of the spine.
- Pertussis (Whooping cough): Pertussis is a highly infectious illness. The disease affects the airways causing severe spells of coughing that may interfere with normal breathing. The coughing is often accompanied by a ?whooping? sound, hence the common name ?whooping cough?. The cough may last for 1-2 months or longer. Pertussis can also cause ear infections, bronchitis which may last a long time, pneumonia, fits, brain damage and even death.
- Hepatitis B: Hepatitis B is caused by the hepatitis B virus. It causes the liver to become inflamed and swollen . The virus is found in body fluids such as blood, semen, vaginal secretions, or saliva (spit) of infected people.
Vaccination is the best way to protect against these diseases. None of the components in the vaccine are infectious.