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COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) is a disease caused by a virus named SARS-CoV-2. It can be very contagious and spreads quickly. Over one million people have died from COVID-19 in the United States. COVID-19 most often causes respiratory symptoms that can feel much like a cold, the flu, or pneumonia. COVID-19 may attack more than your lungs and respiratory system. Other parts of your body may also be affected by the disease. Most people with COVID-19 have mild symptoms, but some people become severely ill. Some people including those with minor or no symptoms will develop Post-COVID Conditions – also called "Long COVID."
Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (whooping cough) are three serious diseases caused by bacteria. Diphtheria leads to breathing problems, paralysis, heart failure, and even death. Tetanus causes painful muscle spasms and stiffness. Tetanus kills 1 out of 5 people who are infected. Pertussis (whooping cough) causes severe coughing spells which can lead to difficulty breathing, vomiting, and disturbed sleep.
Hepatitis A is a serious liver disease caused by the Hepatitis A virus. It is found in the stool of persons with Hepatitis A. It is usually spread by close personal contact and sometimes by eating food or drinking contaminated water.
Hepatitis B is a serious disease that also affects the liver caused by the Hepatitis B virus. Acute illness can lead to loss of appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, tiredness, jaundice, and pain in the muscles, joints and stomach. Chronic infection can lead to liver damage, liver cancer and even death.
Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) can cause serious illness and death in babies and children younger than 5 years old. The CDC recommends Hib vaccination for all children younger than 5 years old.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a very common virus that can cause cancers later in life. About 13 million people, including teens, become infected with HPV each year. In the U.S., nearly 36,000 people are estimated to be affected by a cancer caused by HPV infection each year. The CDC recommends that 11- to 12-year-olds receive two doses of HPV vaccine 6 to 12 months apart.
Influenza is caused by the influenza virus, which can be spread by coughing, sneezing or nasal secretions.
Meningitis is an infection of fluid surrounding the brain and the spinal cord. Meningococcal disease also causes blood infections.
Measles, Mumps, and Rubella are three diseases caused by viruses. Measles causes a rash, cough, runny nose, eye irritation, and fever. It can lead to ear infection, pneumonia, seizures (jerking and staring), brain damage, and death. Mumps causes fever, headache, and swollen glands. It can lead to deafness, meningitis (infection of the brain and spinal cord covering), painful swelling of the testicles or ovaries, and, rarely, death. Rubella causes a rash, mild fever, and arthritis (mostly in women). If a woman gets rubella while she is pregnant, she could have a miscarriage or her baby could be born with serious birth defects. All three are vaccine preventable. The CDC recommends that children should get two doses of MMR vaccine, starting with the first dose at 12 to 15 months of age, and the second dose at 4 through 6 years of age.
Polio, or poliomyelitis, is a crippling and potentially deadly disease. It is caused by the poliovirus. The virus spreads from person to person and can invade an infected person’s brain and spinal cord, causing paralysis (can’t move parts of the body). It can kill people who get it, usually by paralyzing the muscles that help them breathe.
Pneumococcal is an infection of streptococcus pneumonia bacteria that can cause illness and death. It is spread through close personal contact person to person.
Rotavirus spreads easily among infants and young children. The virus can cause severe watery diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and abdominal pain. Children who get rotavirus disease can become dehydrated and may need to be hospitalized.
Chickenpox (Varicella) is a very contagious disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV). It causes a blister-like rash, itching, tiredness, and fever.
Updated October 5, 2023
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