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Chapter: Medical Physiology: Resistance of the Body to Infection: II. Immunity and Allergy

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Immunization by Injection of Antigens

Immunization has been used for many years toproduce acquired immunity against specific diseases.

Immunization by Injection of Antigens

Immunization has been used for many years toproduce acquired immunity against specific diseases. A person can be immunized by injecting dead organisms that are no longer capable of causing disease but that still have some of their chemical antigens. This type of immunization is used to protect against typhoid fever, whooping cough, diphtheria, and many other types of bacterial diseases.

Immunity can be achieved against toxins that have been treated with chemicals so that their toxic nature has been destroyed even though their antigens for causing immunity are still intact. This procedure is used in immunizing against tetanus, botulism, and other similar toxic diseases.

And, finally, a person can be immunized by being infected with live organisms that have been “attenu-ated.” That is, these organisms either have been grown in special culture media or have been passed through a series of animals until they have mutated enough that they will not cause disease but do still carry spe-cific antigens required for immunization. This proce-dure is used to protect against poliomyelitis, yellow fever, measles, smallpox, and many other viral diseases.


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