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Acute respiratory infections preventable by vaccine - Diphtheria, chickenpox, mumps, rubella, whooping cough
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Acute respiratory infections preventable by vaccine - Diphtheria, chickenpox, mumps, rubella, whooping cough

Last update: 2022-06-07

Key facts

Transmission

  • Coughing, sneezing or close personal contact (infected droplets in the air breathed in by
  • another person)
  • Direct contact (for example, kissing) by infected saliva or nose mucous

Symptoms

  • All the illnesses can start with fever, runny nose, tiredness, headache, feeling unwell (children
  • may not want to eat much).
  • All the diseases can spread quickly, especially in unvaccinated populations.
Diphtheria, chickenpox, mumps, rubella, whooping cough
Diphtheria: Sore throat and swollen neck glands.
A membrane of dead tissue builds up in the throat
and over the tonsils, making breathing and
swallowing difficult.
Chickenpox: Itchy small blisters (rash) usually start on
chest, back or face and spread all over the body.
Mumps: Swelling of the salivary glands (on one or
both sides). In severe cases, meningitis, deafness,
inflamed pancreas (near stomach).
Rubella: In children: a rash, swollen glands in neck
and behind ears, mild eye inflammation (pink-eye or
conjunctivitis). In adults: painful joints or arthritis.
Whooping cough: Cough (can be worse at night)
with a high “whoop” sound or gasp when breathing
in. Babies less than one year old may not cough but
can have difficulty breathing.

Prevention

  • Routine vaccination of children
  • Preventive vaccination campaign to improve coverage in displaced populations and refugee
  • camps
  • Rapid identification of sick people before they spread the disease to others
  • Improve the nutritional situation, especially of children
  • Reduce overcrowding in shelters
  • Improve ventilation in shelters
  • Coughing etiquette (cough into sleeve, handkerchief or tissue, NOT the hand)
  • Social mobilization and behaviour change communication
  • Handwashing with soap

Vulnerable people

  • Children who are not vaccinated, especially those who are poorly nourished
  • Pregnant women (are very likely to pass rubella to an unborn baby, which can cause miscarriage, stillbirth or severe birth defects)
  • People who are malnourished or have compromised immune systems (for example, from HIV infection)
  • Displaced populations and those who live in crowded, cramped conditions

If an epidemic occurs

  • Rapidly detect and refer cases to health facilities
  • Support mass vaccination campaigns
  • Isolate sick people (separate them from healthy people)
  • Promote coughing etiquette (cough into sleeve, handkerchief or tissue, NOT the hand)
  • Promote handwashing with soap
  • Check nutritional status of children under five years old and promote nutritional support
  • to those who are malnourished or sick
  • Promote exclusive breastfeeding for at least the first six months of life
  • Increase social mobilization and behaviour change communication
  • Reduce overcrowding in shelters
  • Improve ventilation in shelters

Community-based assessment - questions

Make a map of the community and mark the information you gather on the map. Record other details.

  • When did people start to fall sick?
  • How many people have fallen sick with mumps or rubella or chickenpox or whooping cough? Where?
  • How many people have died and where?
  • How many people live in the affected community or area?
  • How many children under five live in the area?
  • Who and where are the vulnerable people?
  • Are children under five most affected? Or are other age groups, occupations, etc., more affected?
  • Are children in the affected community generally well nourished?
  • Do people always have enough food?
  • How common is breastfeeding?
  • Are children in the affected community vaccinated or not?
  • Is a vaccination campaign planned?
  • Do strong cultural beliefs or perceptions about vaccination prevent children from being vaccinated?
  • Where are the local health facilities and services? (Include traditional and community carers.)
  • What are the community’s habits, practices and beliefs about caring for and feeding sick people? When babies and infants are sick, do women continue to breastfeed them?
  • Is a social mobilization or health promotion programme in place?
  • Which sources of information do people use most?
  • Are rumours or is misinformation about the disease spreading in the community?