Disease, Vaccination And Immunity

The medical field has grown so far that medicine for almost every disease is available now. Advanced technology has improvised the principle of treatment and prevention. Here we will discuss treatment and prevention of diseases by vaccination and immunization.

Diseases

“Prevention is better than cure” is a famous quote.  We could treat a disease either by reducing the intensity of the disease or by killing the pathogen thus prevent further spreading. One way of treatment is based on the symptoms and signs. But this is not an effective way of prevention since the chance of recurrence is high. Thus, treatment is more focused on the killing of the disease-causing agent. Diseases are caused either by bacteria or viruses or protozoa. Based on the types of agent and pathway, they follow to cause infection, treatment also varies.

Antibiotics are drugs, developed for treating bacterial infections. Sometimes they are even used for treating diseases caused by pathogens. But these antibiotics are not effective for viral diseases. Viruses depend on a host cell for their reproduction and survival. Also, they do not have their own machinery and follow host cell biochemical pathways. Therefore, the drugs which harm the virus could affect the host also. This is why the development of drugs for viral diseases is much difficult than developing drugs for bacterial diseases. In spite of these, recently many anti-viral drugs have been developed.

Vaccination and Immunization

Vaccination

Vaccination

Treatment is the method to deal with a disease once a person is infected. But this has certain limitations as even after medication, an infected person can serve as a source of infection. Hence prevention is better than cure. Prevention of a disease can be done in two ways i.e. either by avoiding exposure to infectious conditions or by immunization.

The diseases caused by nutritional deficiency, unhealthy environment, contaminated food, air, and water could be prevented by personal and social hygiene. Our body has a special mechanism to fight against infectious pathogens. This property is called immunity. The immune system consists of certain immune cells which produce allergies, reactions or antibodies against antigens (foreign particles) entering our body. The process of resistance against diseases is called immunization. One method of attaining immunization is by injecting vaccines and the method is commonly known as vaccination.

Our immune system fights or responds vigorously when a pathogen enters our body and produces antibodies. When the same or relative pathogen enters the body later, they recall the previous action and release those antibodies. Thus they prevent the microbe from causing infection more rapidly. This is how vaccination works. Wide varieties of diseases are around us; accordingly, we have numerous vaccines for each specific disease. For example, BCG vaccine for tuberculosis, TAB vaccine for typhoid.

Prevention of Disease

Diseases not only affect a single person, it affects the whole of society. Thus prevention of diseases is the responsibility of a community. As a part of this, certain public health organizations and programs have been developed. One example of this would be the Pulse Polio Programme which is a program launched by the Indian government. The main aim is to eliminate Polio from the Indian society.

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Practise This Question

Salk's vaccine is given to prevent which disease?