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Deadly disease eliminated in children under 5 years of age in Uganda
Date:3/10/2008

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND, 10 March 2008 Hib meningitis has been virtually eliminated in young children in Uganda just five years after the country introduced Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccine nationwide, according to an independent study.

Haemophilus influenzae type b is a leading cause of pneumonia and meningitis, an inflammation of the lining covering the brain and spinal cord. Each year, Hib kills approximately 400,000 children under five years of age, most of them in the developing world. It is also responsible for approximately three million cases of serious illnesses resulting in long-term consequences such as deafness, paralysis, mental retardation and learning disabilities. The positive results are outlined in a study to be published in the April issue of The Bulletin of the World Health Organization, an independent peer-reviewed international public health journal. Advanced publication of the study can be found at http://www.who.int/bulletin/publish_ahead_of_print/en/index.html.

Upon monitoring occurrence of bacterial meningitis due to Hib between 2001 to 2006, the studys authors saw marked decline in the disease resulting from implementation of a new vaccination program. Where monitored, the incidence rate dropped by 85 percent within four years of vaccine introduction and fell to zero in the fifth year. The authors estimate that Hib vaccine in the Ugandan immunisation programme now prevents almost 30,000 cases of severe Hib disease and 5,000 child deaths (under five years) annually, equivalent to the successful control of measles in the country.

Funding for Hib vaccine is a major part of the GAVI Alliances (formerly known as the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation) programme support to Uganda. With GAVI support, Uganda was able to introduce 16.5 million doses of Hib vaccines nationwide from 2002 to 2006. The governme
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Contact: Ariane Manset
amanset@gavialliance.org
41-229-096-521
Gavi Alliance
Source:Eurekalert

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