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By Toney Allman

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Hib, too, is surrounded by a polysaccharide capsule that does not trigger an immune response in infants and toddlers. A conjugate vaccine had to be developed. The bacterial polysaccharides were linked with an antigen from a diphtheria toxin, and the vaccine for Hib was introduced in 1990. Since vaccination for Hib has become routine, the incidence of Hib infection has decreased by 99 percent throughout the developed world. Another bacterium that causes meningitis is called Neisseria meningitidis and can be a problem for young people who live in close quarters such as in college dormitories.

Instead of traveling through the bloodstream, where the immune system would discover it, the rabies virus travels through the nerves to reach the spinal cord and brain. Vaccination puts the virus directly into the bloodstream, where it is recognized by the immune system, and plentiful antibody production prevents infection before the slow moving virus reaches the spinal cord. The Importance of Animals Today With no other means available to him at the time, Pasteur had relied entirely on a relatively brief period of animal testing of his rabies vaccine.

Vaccines are the answer to the terrible problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, say experts, because they confer immunity to bacterial diseases and make treatment efforts unnecessary. Antibiotic resistance is one of the main reasons that a tuberculosis vaccine is urgently needed. The Haemophilus influenzae type B, or Hib, vaccine came just in time to make people immune to the antibiotic-resistant bacteria that cause meningitis. Since the vaccine’s introduction in 1990, meningitis caused by both resistant and nonresistant Hib strains has been reduced by 99 percent in the United States.

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