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      Combo Vaccine “Boostrix” Approved by FDA – To Prevent Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis in Seniors

      The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Boostrix, a combination vaccine, to prevent tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis in adults aged 65 years and over. It is the first triple vaccine that has been approved for preventing all three diseases in one shot in this age group. Boostrix is the single-dose booster vaccine manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals—one of the world's leading vaccine companies.

      Prior to the approval of this combo vaccine, individual vaccines were only available to prevent these three diseases in the senior age group. This vaccine was originally approved as a booster vaccine for adolescents of 10 to 18 years.

      Tetanus is a deadly disease caused by a bacterium that paralyzes the infected person. It is a vaccine-preventable disease that usually begins with muscular spasms in the face and jaw. In rare cases, it affects the muscles that help in breathing, which results in a lack of oxygen to the brain and other organs, leading to death. It is to be noted that tetanus infection is most common in people who are over 50 years old.

      Diphtheria is a potentially life-threatening infection caused by bacteria. The symptoms of diphtheria include fever, severe sore throat, and difficulty swallowing. It is an acute infectious disease that is usually transmitted by respiratory droplets from an infected person’s sneeze or cough. Diphtheria mainly affects the throat and nose.

      Pertussis, more commonly known as whooping cough, is a bacterial infection characterized by persistent cough. With reported increase in cases since 2007, whooping cough has been declared an epidemic by the California Department of Public Health in 2010. It is a highly contagious respiratory disease that can remain present for weeks in senior patients, who in turn can spread it to the non-vaccinated children. However, this approval of just one vaccine offers protection against all three diseases to the senior patients.

      July 13, 2011


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