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Influenza vaccine causes weaker immune response for children of rural Gabon than in semi-urban areas
Date:10/22/2007

re higher in the semi-urban children, whereas IL-5 responses were higher in the rural children , indicating a skewing toward Th2 responses in the rural children may, at least partly, be the result of the immune-modulating effects of helminths, says van Riet.

These studies indicate for the first time that influenza virus infections are frequent in Gabon, and suggest that many cases of febrile illness incorrectly diagnosed and mistreated as malaria may actually be due to influenza. In addition, these studies suggest that influenza vaccination will be less effective in rural children than in their semi-urban counterparts, likely because of co-infection with parasites and/or poor nutrition. Closer attention to nutrition and concomitant infections may profoundly affect responses to pandemic influenza and influenza vaccines in developing countries.

With the current attention to the pandemic threat of avian influenza viruses, its global spread, and the preparation of preventive and curative vaccines, it is important to start asking what the immunological consequences of influenza vaccine are in African populations, says van Riet.

The researchers noted that epidemiological data on influenza, as well as on immune responses to vaccination, will be critical for proper management of influenza epidemics in Africa. In addition, improving diagnoses of influenza, and distinguishing it from diseases with similar symptoms such as malaria, will have important implications for medication dosages.


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University of Chicago Press Journals
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