Vaccinations spina bifida and hydrocephalus


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Vaccines are made from parts of bacteria or viruses that cause infections; when people are vaccinated they will make their own immunity to the specific diseases.

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Vaccinations spina bifida and hydrocephalus

  1. 1. 42 Park Road Peterborough PE1 2UQ 01733 555988Vaccinations and Spina Bifidaand HydrocephalusVaccines are made from parts made to ensure that all children areof bacteria or viruses that cause immunized, even if they are olderinfections; when people are than the recommended age range;vaccinated they will make their own no opportunity to immunize shouldimmunity to the specific diseases. be missed.”Modern vaccines are very safe Pertussis immunisation –and will not cause the infections whooping coughthey are designed to prevent.Vaccination is considered to be Pertussis or whooping cough issafe for children with spina bifida a serious infection that can lastand hydrocephalus, indeed far safer for months and lead to significantthan the consequences of acquiring complications. Modern pertussisany of the serious diseases. In vaccines have a very good safetymany cases vaccination will not record, and have succeeded inonly protect those vaccinated but bringing down the number ofalso help to prevent the disease in cases of whooping cough fromother contacts at home or school. over 120,000 a year to just overIn each case there are some people 1000. The vaccine is now availablewho should not receive a certain only as part of a combined vaccinevaccine, or who should seek against diphtheria and tetanus andmedical advice if in doubt. pertussis (DTaP) or one containing polio and Haemophilus vaccine inThe official Department of Health addition.advice is: “Every effort should be
  2. 2. Vaccinations and Spina Bifidaand Hydrocephalus a contraindication to immunization.The Department of Health When there is a personal or familyImmunisation Handbook (2006) history of febrile seizures [that is fitsstates: when you get a fever] there is an increased risk of these occurring”The presence of a neurological after any fever, including thatcondition is NOT a contraindication following immunization. When a childto immunization. If a child has a has had a febrile seizure in the past,stable pre – existing neurological with no evidence of neurologicalabnormality, such as spina bifida, deterioration, immunisation shouldcongenital abnormality of the brain go ahead.”etc, they should be immunizedaccording to the recommended This means that a history of fits isschedule. When there has been not a reason to avoid vaccination.a documented history of cerebral Advice on post – vaccination feversdamage in the neonatal period, should be obtained.immunization should be carriedout unless there is evidence of an If parents are concerned about aevolving neurological abnormality.” child being immunised, they should consult their doctor.This means that children withhydrocephalus or spina bifida should MMR II vaccination –have the vaccine. The only exceptions measles, mumps, rubellaare when there is a neurologicalcondition that is unstable and still Childhood diseases such asdeveloping, and where the cause measles, mumps and rubellaremains unknown. In this case (German measles) are often thoughtvaccination can be deferred until of as trivial, but they can give riselater, but this period during which the to serious complications. Measleschild is unprotected should be kept is a cause of ear infection and canto a minimum. cause pneumonia. Mumps causes painful swelling of the saliva glandsWith regard to children with a history in the mouth, but it is also a causeof epilepsy, the Handbook states: “A of meningitis and deafness. In olderfamily history of seizures [fits] is NOT boys it can cause inflammation
  3. 3. of the testicles. Rubella is a (that is an extreme emergency, notrelatively mild disease with only just a rash) following a previousrare complications, but if it is dose of the same vaccine or tocaught in pregnancy (usually from some vaccine components suchunvaccinated children) it can result as streptomycin or polymyxinin miscarriage or the birth of a baby (uncommon antibiotics).with serious abnormalities of theheart, eye and other organs. b) The presence of malignant disease or an immunosuppressiveThe introduction of the updated illness such as HIV, or treatmentMMR II vaccine in September with immune suppressive drugs.1996 was intended to continue theprocess of elimination of measles, c) MMR is contraindicated inmumps and rubella (Population pregnancy.Association for Spina Bifida andHydrocephalus 42 Park Road, d) The administration of MMRPeterborough PE1 2UQ Registered vaccine (or one of its threecharity no.249338 To see our full component vaccines) by injectionrange of information sheets and to within the past four weeks. MMRfind out how to donate to Shine is the only one of the “childhoodplease visit diseases” vaccines in this from the population. Followingthis, rubella in pregnancy has been e) Illness with a high temperature.almost eliminated. Until 1999, The vaccine should be given later,when vaccination rates fell again, when the child has recovered.the number of mumps cases alsofell dramatically. Similarly, cases There may be a raised temperatureof measles have also fallen, with or a rash showing about a weekvirtual elimination of the most to 10 days after receiving theserious complications. vaccine, but this can be controlled with paracetamol. A history ofThe reasons for NOT receiving convulsions is not a contra-the vaccine are: indication to this vaccine. Measles vaccination can cause febrilea) A confirmed anaphylactic reaction convulsion (not the same as
  4. 4. Vaccinations and Spina Bifidaand Hydrocephalusepileptic convulsions). If your child bacterial meningitis in UK. Thesehas a history of febrile convulsions are Haemophilus influenzae typeyour doctor may recommend giving b (Hib), Meningococcus C (Men C)paracetamol for 72 hours following and Pneumococcus. In additionvaccination to prevent his/her to protection from meningitis theytemperature from rising. often prevent other complications of infection. Bacterial meningitis is itselfAllergy to eggs is not a a potential cause of hydrocephalus.contraindication to MMR vaccineand children who have shown egg Haemophilus (Hib): Haemophilus isallergy in the past should receive the a bacterium that lives in the nosevaccine. If in doubt parents should and throat. Unfortunately it canconsult their GP or paediatrician. cause serious infections includingHydrocephalus is not a reason for pneumonia and meningitis. Fromwithholding the vaccine. October 1992, immunisation against Haemophilus influenzae type bMMR Vaccine and Autism: meningitis (Hib) became routine forThe issue of whether there is a all babies in the between MMR and autism orinflammatory bowel disease has Hib is the commonest cause ofbeen extensively investigated in bacterial meningitis in children underseveral countries. NO SUCH LINK four years. It is important that babiesHAS BEEN FOUND, and evidence and children who have spina bifidanow shows that the original report and/or hydrocephalus should befrom a single source was not vaccinated against Hib.correct. (See Department of Healthwebsite: www.mmrthefacts.nhs. Since routine Hib immunizationuk) For more information, parents began, there has been a 95% fall inare advised to consult their family infection in children most at Reasons for NOT receiving theVaccines against meningitis vaccine are:There are now three vaccines A confirmed anaphylactic reactionagainst the commonest forms of (that is an extreme emergency, not
  5. 5. just a rash) following a previous is an extremely rare event. A minordose of the same vaccine or to reaction to the first dose such assome vaccine components. This rash or transient fever should notis an extremely rare event. A minor deter further administration.reaction to the first dose such asrash or transient fever should not Pneumococcus: like Haemophilusdeter further administration. and Meningococcus, Pneumococcus is a bacteriumMeningococcus C (MenC): that lives in the nose and throat.Meningococcus is a bacterium Unfortunately it can causethat lives in the nose and throat. serious infections, particularly earUnfortunately it can cause serious infections, pneumonia, septicaemiainfections, particularly septicaemia (blood infection) and meningitis.(blood infection) and meningitis.Two types (B and C) cause infection From 2002, pneumococcusin UK, but at the moment a vaccine vaccine has been available butis available only against Group C. immunisation with the new, more effective polyvalent (effectiveFrom 1999, Men C immunisation against more than one strain ofbecame routine for all babies in the pneumococcus) type becameUK, following which the number of routine for all babies in the UK incases fell by over 90%. 2006.It is important that babies and It is important that babies andchildren who have spina bifida children who have spina bifidaand/or hydrocephalus should be and/or hydrocephalus should bevaccinated against Meningococcus vaccinated against Pneumococcus.C. Reasons for NOT receiving theReasons for NOT receiving the vaccine are:vaccine are: A confirmed anaphylactic reactionA confirmed anaphylactic reaction (that is an extreme emergency, not(that is an extreme emergency, not just a rash) following a previousjust a rash) following a previous dose of the same vaccine or todose of the same vaccine or to some vaccine components. Thissome vaccine components. This is an extremely rare event. A minor
  6. 6. reaction to the first dose such as possible to have all the protectionrash or transient fever should not with fewer injections. Vaccinationdeter further administration. should begin at 2 months of age, with repeat doses at intervals. YourContrary to previous advice, people GP or paediatrician will be able towith shunts are NOT at any more risk tell you which combination vaccinesfrom pneumococcus than people are available and when to have yourwithout shunts, and adults who have child vaccinated.(or are about to have) shunts shouldnot be more concerned about risk Vaccines for Travellersof pneumococcal disease. However,Department of Health policy is that People with Spina Bifida andall children and all those over 65yrs Hydrocephalus travelling toof age should be immunized. countries where vaccines are recommended (e.g. yellow fever,Vaccination schedules for children: typhoid etc) should receive exactlyMost of the major childhood disease the same vaccinations as any othercan now be covered by the UKimmunization programme. Some traveller.of these are dealt with here, butothers including polio, diphtheria For further information on traveland tetanus are also very important. health please refer to: These have all now been put together or into combined vaccines, so it is usShine relies on people’s generosity and support so we can help our clientswho depend on us for help and advice - people with hydrocephalus,spina bifida, their families and carers. To donate to Shine please or call 01733 421329.This information has been produced by Shine’s medical advisers andapproved by Shine’s Medical Advisory Committee of senior medicalprofessionals.Shine - Registered charity no.249338To see our full range of information sheets and to find out how to donateto Shine please visit