Disease! To feel at dis-ease! To be troubled, uncomfortable or in pain: ill at ease.
Modern medicine has allowed us freedom from pain, discomfort and difficulty from a great number of diseases. The biggest contributor to the successful fight against disease is the practice of vaccination.
Vaccinations provide long term and possibly lifelong protection against communicable diseases that can be disabling or deadly. Vaccinations benefit an individual and the community in which they live in. However, if vaccinations rates drop within a community a widespread outbreak can occur.
Health.com described a study published in the journal 'Infection' that stated that over half of American adults are at risk for the hepatitis B infection due to not being vaccinated.
The study was performed by researchers at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. The scientists analyzed the data of fifteen thousand adults who participated in a 2007 behavior and risk factor survey.
The researchers found that individuals over the age of 33, individuals without health insurance and individuals who do not receive vaccinations against other diseases were less likely to be vaccinated against Hepatitis.
The study also uncovered that about half of the adults that had not been vaccinated against hepatitis B had the ability to receive the vaccine and that individuals who had health insurance did not get vaccinated.
Why are adults who are well aware of the benefits of vaccination not being vaccinated? It may be due to perception.
Some view hepatitis B as being a disease associated with intravenous drug users and persons who have multiple sexual partners. Prior research has shown that individuals who engage in these types of behaviors do makeup a large percent of the new reported cases. However, they do not makeup all of the new reported cases.
Hepatitis B is spread through infected blood and other bodily fluids. Infections can be spread through sex with an infected person, sharing personal items with an infected person, the use of unclean needles when receiving a tattoo or acupuncture, by sharing needles and through direct contact with blood. Hepatitis B can also be spread from an infected mother to her baby during childbirth.
Hepatitis B infection can lead cirrhosis, liver failure and liver disease.
The researchers at Brown University believe that missed opportunities are one of the reasons why hepatitis B infections continue to grow. In their report, the scientists identified locations where vaccination rates could be improved such as when a person is being tested for other diseases like HIV.
Brian Montague, a senior author on the study, believes that the 'missed opportunities' are a stigma on the medical profession. Montague, an assistant professor of medicine in the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and a physician at the Miriam Hospital in Providence, said in a university news release that, “This is a really simple thing that we could do, and if somebody ends up getting the disease because we didn’t make the effort, then I think that’s really a shame”.
More and more adults are thinking and acting healthy and taking preventive measures against diseases such as: diabetes, heart disease and high cholesterol by eating better and exercising. Often, the preventive step of adult vaccination is missed. Vaccination can be made to be part of a health regimen.
Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that persons who are age 19 to 59 and who have diabetes are vaccinated for hepatitis B. An individual seeking vaccination will more than likely have to request it.
If you have any questions regarding Hepatitis B infection and the Hepatitis B vaccination please contact a doctor near you.
The information on this site is not a substitute for diagnosis or treatment from a licensed medical practitioner. If you are experiencing a serious medical condition call your local emergency services or your doctor.