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Dengue Vaccine Should Not Be Used Widely: UN Health Agency

UN Health Agency issued an important statement regarding the dengue vaccine

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Dengue vaccine.
A Manila Health officer shows off a pair of vials of the anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia after being recalled from local government health centers Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017 in Manila, Philippines. The World Health Organization says the first-ever vaccine for dengue needs to be dealt with in "a much safer way," meaning that the shot should mostly be given to people who have previously been infected with the disease. VOA
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The World Health Organization says the first-ever vaccine for dengue needs to be dealt with in “a much safer way,” meaning that the shot should mostly be given to people who have previously been infected with the disease.

In November, the vaccine’s manufacturer, Sanofi Pasteur, said people who had never been sickened by dengue before were at risk of developing a more serious disease after getting the shot.

After a two-day meeting this week, WHO’s independent vaccines group said it now had proof the vaccine should only be used “exclusively or almost exclusively in people who have already been infected with dengue.”

Also Read: Anti-dengue Antibody Drug May Neutralize Zika Virus

The U.N. health agency said a test should be developed so doctors would be able to quickly tell if people had previously been sickened by dengue – but the group acknowledged doing that so isn’t straightforward.

“We see significant obstacles in using the vaccine this way, but we are confident this also spurs the development of a rapid diagnostic test,” said Dr. Joachim Hombach, executive secretary of WHO’s expert group, during a news conference Thursday.

Representational image for dengue vaccination
Representational image. Wikimedia Commons

Sanofi said last year that doctors should consider whether people might have been previously infected with dengue before deciding whether they should risk getting immunized. The company said it expected to take a 100 million euro ($118 million) loss based on that news.

People who catch dengue more than once can be at risk of a hemorrhagic version of the disease. The mosquito-spread virus is found in tropical and sub-tropical climates across Latin and South America, Asia, Africa and elsewhere. It causes a flu-like disease that can cause joint pain, nausea, vomiting and a rash. In severe cases, dengue can result in breathing problems, hemorrhaging and organ failure.

About half the world’s population is at risk of dengue; WHO estimates that about 96 million people are sickened by the viral infection every year.

Also Read: Dengue fever may increase risk of stroke: Study

Following Sanofi’s announcement last year, the Philippines halted its dengue immunization program, the world’s first national vaccination program for dengue. The government also demanded a refund of more than 3 billion pesos ($59 million) from Sanofi and is considering further legal action.

In February, the Philippines said the vaccine was potentially linked to the deaths of three people: all of them died of dengue despite having received the vaccine.

The country imposed a symbolic fine of $2,000 on Sanofi and suspended the vaccine’s approval, charging that the drugmaker broke rules on how the shot was registered and marketed.

More than 730,000 children aged 9 and above in the Philippines have received at least one dose of the dengue vaccine, usually delivered in three doses.

There is no specific treatment for dengue and there are no other licensed vaccines on the market.  VOA

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Dengue fever may increase risk of stroke: Study

For the study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, the researchers looked at data on 13,787 patients

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Aedes
Dengue is transmitted by the bite of the Aedes mosquito that typically attacks during day time. Pixabay
  • Dengue fever can increase the risk of stroke
  • Dengue is a mosquito-borne disease
  • The research was started in around 2012

People with dengue fever may have a higher risk of stroke, especially in the first two months following infection, a new study has claimed.

Dengue is a mosquito-borne disease.

Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral infection that infects at least 100 million people every year around the world, with about 4 billion people at risk of the illness, which includes dengue hemorrhagic fever that can lead to spontaneous bleeding, organ failure and death.

“Clinicians in dengue-endemic areas should be aware of this association, especially for patients with dengue who have neurologic deficits or for patients with stroke who have unexplained fever,” said co-author Chia-Hung Kao from the China Medical University Hospital in Taiwan.

Stroke is a severe neurologic complication of dengue fever, described in only a few case reports. The incidence and risk factors for stroke in patients with dengue remain unclear, the researchers said.

We conducted a population-based retrospective cohort study to investigate the risk of stroke in patients with dengue, the researchers added.

People suffering dengue fever have higher risk of suffering from strokes.
People suffering dengue fever have higher risk of suffering from strokes.

For the study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, the researchers looked at data on 13,787 patients (most between 31 and 60 years of age) with newly diagnosed dengue between 2000 and 2012. They found the incidence of stroke was higher in people with dengue fever.

The risk of stroke was as high as 2.49 times in the first two months of infection with dengue relative to control patients who did not have dengue,” the researchers said.

Also Read: Decoded: Why Mosquitoes Bite You

“Our findings may help with clinical risk evaluation and may serve as a basis for further investigation of the pathogenesis of dengue-related stroke,” they noted. IANS