Posted tagged ‘vaccine’

MENINGITIS THREAT IN AFRICA SALVED BY VACCINE

September 26, 2013

MENINGITIS THREAT IN AFRICA SALVED BY VACCINE

 

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

 

Gracious day to you fellow global citizens!

 

An alarming report by health experts concerns the 450 millions of Africans who are at risk of meningitis. While the ailment can be cured, response systems are insufficient to reach out to the very poor families who comprise the greater majority in the resource rich continent.

 

The good news that is now ‘knocking on heavens doors’ in Africa and developing countries is that a recently innovated vaccine is now out in the open for immediate usage. Not only does it cure the deadly disease, it can also prevent meningitis from taking place for the persons who immediately seek an intervention.

 

Eradicating meningitis via vaccination is valuable an intervention to me, as my own country used to be very poor whence my own relatives in the provinces died of the ailment. There were also moments in my past when I was on the verge of being hit by meningitis, as I keep on contracting inflammations of my sinus and throat—with infections that can lead to meningitis if not treated early.

 

Chad was employed as a test case for the new vaccine, with stunningly high success. For the details on the report, please refer to the enclosed  article below.

 

Source: http://www.scidev.net/global/health/news/meningitis-vaccine-cuts-cases-by-94-per-cent-in-chad.html

 

[Manila, 24 September 2013]

Meningitis vaccine cuts cases by 94 per cent in Chad

Albert González Farran/UNAMID

Speed read

  • The MenAfriVac vaccine helped cut cases by 94 per cent in the 2012 epidemic season
  • Results are based on analysis of 1.8 million vaccinations in Chad
  • The vaccine’s roll out should continue, but also be monitored

A meningitis vaccine that has recently been rolled out in several African countries has reduced the incidence of the disease by 94 per cent in Chad after just a single dose per person, in what scientists say is a startling success for the new vaccine, called MenAfriVac.
 
And the presence of the bacteria responsible for the disease in people’s throats — carriage prevalence — dropped by 98 per cent, according to the study published in The Lancet today.
 
The research, based on an analysis of data from 1.8 million vaccinations in Chad, revealed that there were no cases of serogroup A meningococcal meningitis, the most dangerous strain of the disease, following vaccination.
 
“This is one of the most dramatic outcomes from a public health intervention that I have seen,” said lead author Brian Greenwood in a press release (12 September).
 
“There are now real prospects that the devastating effects of this infection in Africa can be prevented,” said Greenwood, a professor of clinical tropical medicine at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom, which carried out the study together with the Centre de Support en Santé Internationale in Chad and other partners. 
 
Deadly epidemics of meningitis A occur regularly in Sub-Saharan Africa’s meningitis belt, a band of 21 countries stretching from Senegal in the west to Ethiopia in the east, where around 450 million people are at risk.
 
Group A meningococcus accounts for an estimated 80 to 85 per cent of all cases across the belt, with the most affected countries being Burkina Faso, Chad, Ethiopia and Niger. If untreated, the disease — which mainly affects infants, children and young adults — kills half of those infected.

“One of the most dramatic outcomes from a public health intervention that I have seen”

Brian Greenwood, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

In the new study, researchers compared the impact of Chad’s 2011 vaccination programme on meningitis incidence and carriage in three vaccinated areas with the results from the unvaccinated areas over the same period.
 
When the 2012 epidemic seasons arrived, the incidence of meningitis of any type in the three vaccinated regions was 2.5 per 100,000 people, compared with 43.6 per 100,000 people in the unvaccinated areas.
 
And there were no meningitis A cases in the vaccinated regions, compared with 59 in the unvaccinated regions.
 
Carriage of the bacteria also dropped dramatically among vaccinated people, and even unvaccinated people — those too old or young to be vaccinated — showed no cases after their communities were vaccinated, suggesting that vaccination programmes substantially reduce carriage and transmission.  
 
Although mass vaccination campaigns in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger had shown the vaccine to be safe and highly effective so far, “until now, it was not known definitively whether MenAfriVac had a major impact on the incidence of serogroup A epidemics and carriage”, according to Greenwood.
 
The WHO says the vaccine has several advantages over existing vaccines, including: a higher and more long-lasting immune response; reducing the number of throat bacteria, and thus transmission; its expected long-term protection for those vaccinated, their family members and others who are exposed; and its lower than average price.
 
The findings support the case that vaccination programmes should continue across the African meningitis belt, according to Greenwood.
 
But he warns that continuing surveillance and further carriage studies in the belt will be needed to confirm the duration of protection provided by this vaccine.
 
“This is an extremely encouraging sign for those countries that are yet to introduce the vaccine,” Jean-Marie Okwo-Bele, director of the WHO department of immunisation, vaccines and biologicals, said in a press release.
 
“We are not even half-way done with introducing this revolutionary new vaccine across the meningitis belt of Africa, yet we already have extraordinary results.”
 
The vaccine was developed by the Meningitis Vaccine Project, a partnership between the WHO and PATH (Program for Appropriate Technology in Health), with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
 
Link to paper abstract

References

The Lancet doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(13)61612-8 (2013)

 

VACCINE FEARS

August 16, 2011

VACCINE FEARS
Erle Frayne D. Argonza

How far do vaccines work? Is vaccination an opportunity or a threat to communities suffering from epidemic and pandemic outbursts?
Vaccination has generated its own level of fear responses, as cases of vaccination failures have led to fatalities on the parts of poor patients. Let it be stressed that pandemics, such as those that struck Africa, often than not strike down the poor classes, thus generating toxic fears that the vaccines coming from the West are meant as genocide bacteriological warfare weaponry.
Devising ways & means to track vaccine fears is a challenge to healthcare stakeholders across the globe. Below is one reportorial discussion on the subject.
[Philippines, 17 July 2011]
Source: http://www.scidev.net/en/news/system-tracks-vaccine-fears-around-the-globe.html
System tracks vaccine fears around the globe
Smriti Mallapaty
4 July 2011
[LONDON] Fears of a growing mistrust of vaccinations in developing countries have led academics to set up a ‘listening station’ that monitors local responses to new immunisation campaigns.
Researchers at the UK-based London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) are hoping their system will alert them when concerns have passed thresholds beyond which there may be a risk to the smooth implementation of a programme.
“I have been seeing an increasing number of episodes of communities, governments and individuals questioning vaccines and refusing them, even in some of the poorest countries,” said Heidi Larson, senior lecturer at LSHTM and principal investigator for the project.
“After several years of fire-fighting, I started to see patterns where early intervention could have prevented boycotts,” she said.
The project started in November 2009. Data are collected from local media, official and local observer reports and categorised by country, source, type of disease, vaccine and issue raised.
Risk is allocated to three categories, ranging from a potential problem requiring more data-gathering, to immediate action being needed to prevent vaccine refusal.
In Kenya, the researchers are piloting a ‘listening system’ model that documents local opinion as it emerges following the launch of the pneumococcal vaccine last February.
Today, mobile phones, the Internet and social media are providing new methods of self-organisation for those on all sides of vaccine debates.
Larson and colleagues recently published a case study in The Lancet examining the suggested link between the tetanus vaccine and sterility that disrupted immunisation campaigns across the world and led to a 45 per cent drop in coverage in the Philippines between 1994 and 1995.
They found that the Internet had been crucial in allowing the pro-life Catholic group Human Life International to communicate these fears to its members in over 60 countries, including Mexico, Nicaragua and the Philippines.
The eruption of fear usually results from underlying social and political issues, said the researchers. When fears arose in Uttar Pradesh in India that the polio vaccine might induce sterility, analysts found that mistrust revolved around the person administering the vaccine — often non-local men.
“When you have a group that is marginalised and is very conscious of its marginalisation, it is not a surprise that they would be more suspicious of government-driven initiatives,” said Larson.
Thomas Abraham, director of the public health communication programme at the University of Hong Kong, said: “I think that any tool that tells you that there is a problem is useful”.
“The question then becomes, what are you going to do about these rumours?”
He said that communication needed to be the starting point for any public health programme. “Health communication, especially around vaccines, is still very much in the dark ages.”
Link to case study in The Lancet (free registration required)
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