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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

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.”

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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.

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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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Delhi Sees More Number of Dengue Cases This Winter Than The Last One

In 2015, Delhi saw its worst dengue outbreak with more than 11,800 cases and 60 deaths, according to the city's civic bodies

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Aedes
Dengue is transmitted by the bite of the Aedes mosquito that typically attacks during day time. Pixabay

A new municipal report suggests that dengue cases have increased in the months of November and December this year compared to 2017.

According to the weekly report by the MCD released on Monday, 1,062 dengue cases were recorded in November 2018 while it was 816 in 2017. Even in December 2017, only 81 cases were reported in the national capital while this year 117 cases have already been reported till December 15. Forty-two fresh cases have been registered in the past one week.

So far, four deaths caused by dengue have been confirmed in Delhi which includes a 13-year-old girl from Wazirabad area. The other three cases are reported to be from west and north Delhi.

However, as per the report, 2,774 people have been diagnosed with the vector-borne disease in Delhi so far in 2018. However, the number is less than what it was in 2017 — 4,704.

Delhi sees more dengue cases this winter than last.

In 2015, Delhi saw its worst dengue outbreak with more than 11,800 cases and 60 deaths, according to the city’s civic bodies.

As for malaria, only one new case surfaced last week taking the toll to two till now for the month. In November, 33 malaria cases were reported in the city, according to the municipal report. So far, 473 malaria cases have come to light, while in 2017 it was 575.

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No new cases of chikungunya were reported this week keeping the total number of cases at 3 in the national capital while in November, there were 28 cases. Till date, a total of 164 chikungunya cases have been reported in the city compared to 551 in 2017. (IANS)