Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is a nasty virus. Actually, it’s a group of 150+ different related viruses (called types or strains).
Papilloma means wart. HPV can cause warts to appear in bumps–raised or flat, small or large–and sometimes in formations that can look cauliflower-like. These warts love to hang out in mucous-membrany areas such as the mouth, throat, genitals, and anus, but it’s not at all uncommon to find them on your hands (common warts) and feet (plantar warts), as well. In fact, sixty of the 150+ types cause hand and foot warts.
My guess is you’ve had one. Am I right? I have. In fact, I get them on the soles of my feet all the time.
HPV is so common that nearly all men and women get one type at some point in their lives. Don’t freak out.
So how do you get it?
You get warts through other people who have warts—skin-to-skin contact. Most often the spread comes from intimate contact. And in many cases, the infected person doesn’t even know they have it because they show no signs or symptoms. Sometimes the symptoms don’t develop until years after being infected.
So, why is it important for me to talk about warts?
The WHO estimates that globally Streptococcus pneumonia kills close to 500,000 children under 5 years annually. That’s a HUGE number. And that’s just children UNDER FIVE.
S. pneumonia can cause diseases such as pneumonia. meningitis, and bacteremia. (Refer to graphic below.) These are diseases that put babies and children in the hospital.
I’ve been hospitalized twice for pneumonia and I can’t imagine having to watch my child or any child go through such pain and suffering.
We do have a vaccine to help protect from this disease. The pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCV)–there are two versions–have had clear public health benefits. Not only does it reduce the invasive disease in vaccinated children, but also in elderly adults who benefit from herd immunity.
Coverage is increasing globally, but it’s nowhere near optimal vaccination rates.
Most of these child deaths occur in developing countries where they do not yet have access to vaccines.
Babies are exposed to numerous bacteria and viruses on a daily basis. Hands and objects enter those little babies’ mouths just about every minute, exposing their immune systems to antigens on a daily basis. Their immune systems are always working to fend off intruders.
Immune system cells are constantly hard at work. But it comes to vaccines, there is no evidence that combining vaccines can “overload” an infant’s immune system. And many studies have demonstrated that a baby’s immune system can handle receiving more than one vaccine at a time.
It has been shown that infants could receive more than the recommended amount of vaccines given at a time without compromising the immune system’s ability to respond appropriately. Babies’ immune systems are much stronger than you think. According to Adverse Events Associated with Childhood Vaccines, a 1994 report from the Institute of Medicine, based on the number of antibodies present in the blood, a baby would theoretically have the ability to respond to around 10,000 vaccines at one time!3 They even went so far as to say that even if all 14 childhood vaccines were given at once, only slightly more than 0.1% of the baby’s immune system capacity would be at work.
Both the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the American Academy of Pediatrics actually recommend combination vaccines whenever they are available.