Acton Travel Clinic offer a dedicated children’s immunisation service, offering advice about immunisations along with a choice of single and small combination vaccines. We are dedicated to listening to your concerns and will give you the information you need to let you, as parents, make an informed choice of which vaccines to give your child, and when these vaccines should be given. If you wish, we will help you plan a personalised immunisation schedule for your child.
Meningococcal infection can cause meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord), septicaemia (blood poisoning) or both. It is the commonest bacterial cause of meningitis in the UK. The bacteria, Neisseria meningitidis, normally lives in the back of the throat and nose and around 1 in 10 people carry the bacteria without having the disease. The bacteria is spread through sneezing, coughing and kissing.
Meningococcal infection can occur at any age, but around half of cases are in those under 5 years of age, particularly infants less than 1 year. The second main age group is between 15-19 years of age (around 1 in 4 teenagers carry the bacteria).
Symptoms can develop within hours and can be non-specific. It is [particulalry harder to identify the infection in babies. The rash does not always occur. In children and adults symptoms can include:
Septicaemia occurs if the bacteria enter the bloodstream. A characteristic rash develops and may start as a cluster of pinprick blood spots under the skin, spreading to form bruises under the skin. The rash can appear anywhere on the body. It can be distinguished from other rashes by the fact that it does not fade when pressed under the bottom of a glass (the tumbler test).
The infection is treatable with antibiotics. Prompt treatment is essential as the bacteria spreads rapidly. Fatality occurs in about 10% of cases of meningitis and up to 50% of cases of septicaemia. Around 10% of survivors have a major disability as a consequence of the infection.
Vaccination is now available against the common circulating starins of meningoccocus. At Acton Travel Clinic, we stock the following vaccines.
Bexsero is the recently developed vaccine against meningococcus group B, which has now been approved by the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations and is licensed for use in the UK. The vaccine is effective against around 88% of the UK circulating strains of meningococcus group B and 78% of the European circulating strains.
It can be given from 2 months of age as a three dose schedule. From 6 months, it is a 2 dose schedule with a further dose within 1-2 years depending on age. The duration of protection and further doses has not yet been determined.
It can be given at the same time as other childhood vaccines and the side effect profile is similar to other vaccines.
Chicken Pox is an acute illness caused by the virus, Varicella Zoster. It is mainly a common childhood illness, but can be acquired in adults, where the illness may be more severe. The virus is easily transmitted from person to person by coughing or sneezing and is highly infectious, especially before the rash comes out when there may be no symptoms or mild symptoms only.
The classic symptom is a rash, which is very itchy and can be widespread affecting the face, chest, arms and legs. There is often fever and cold symptoms also. The symptoms tend to improve after 1 week. The illness can vary from mild symptoms with a few spots to itchy rash covering the whole body, which can be very distressing, affecting sleep, school and work and causing scarring to the skin. Adults who catch chicken pox tend to have more complicated illness.
Chicken Pox in Pregnancy is a serious disease for the mother and especially the baby. Therefore, it is important to know before trying for pregnancy whether you have immunity to this illness and if not, vaccination may be appropriate to protect you.
There is no specific treatment for chicken pox as most children will recover spontaneously. It is important if you are working closely with children or in health care to check whether you have had chicken Pox, as there is vaccination is available to protect you.
The Varicella vaccine can be given from 12 months of age and prevents against the infection. It may be appropriate to vaccinate if you have been exposed to chicken pox within the last five days and are not sure if you have had the illness during childhood.
Measles a highly infectious viral illness, which spreads rapidly from person to person. It is one of the leading causes of death among young children, the majority occurring in developing countries where immunisation is patchy (WHO 2013).
The initial symptoms are similar to the common cold with runny nose, cough, red and watery eyes and fever. This is followed by a rash, which spreads throughout the body.
Complications of measles tend to occur in children under 5 years or adults over 20 years and include encephalitis (infection of the brain) and pneumonia (infection of the lungs).
There is no specific treatment for measles.
MeaslesMumps is a viral infection mainly of childhood and affects the salivary glands.
Symptoms appear 2 to 3 weeks after infection and include headache, fever, muscle ache and swelling of the salivary glands. It tends to be mild in children, but in adults, can lead to complications such as meningitis, deafness and orchitis (infection of the testicles).
There is no specific treatment available for mumps.
Rubella is an acute viral illness that is spread easily from person to person by coughing or sneezing. It is mainly an infection of children and is generally mild in this group. However, rubella in pregnancy is a severe and potentially fatal illness for the unborn baby.
Symptoms include rash and fever and usually occur 2 to 3 weeks after exposure. In adults, it can also cause painful joints and arthritis,
There is no specific treatment for rubella
The vaccine is effective at preventing all three illnesses and can be given from 12 months of age. It is particularly important to check if you are vaccinated against MMR before travelling as infection is prevalent in Asia, Africa and South America. Because the illness is easily transmitted through air, MMR immunity is necessary for certain jobs.