West Bengal tops list of Pneumococcal deaths

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Kolkata, May 06 (UNI) West Bengal tops the list of cases and deaths due to Invasive Pneumococcal Diseases(IPD) in India, comprising around six to seven thousand deaths each year, Indian Academy of Pediatrics Member Dr Jaydeep Chaudhury said here today.

Dr Chaudhury, a member of the Central Committee on Immunisation of the IAP, was speaking to the press on the need to introduce routine immunisation operations in private and government health care centres all over the country, especially in West Bengal. He said the state leads the country in incidents of IPDs which claim a large number of lives due to pneumonia throughout the year.

''There are at least four under-five deaths every minute due to IPD, against the world record of one under-five death per minute,'' Dr Chaudhury said.

West Bengal topped the list in the last two years (2006-7) and was the leading second in the list in 2005, only after Delhi, he said and added that only 40 per cent parents come to vaccinate their under-two children, only a little more than UP, Bihar and Jharkhand's 35 per cent.

Admitting that the vaccine Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine(PCV-7), with strains from seven different bacteria, was a costly affair requiring a cold chain network and Routine Immunisation(RI) infrastuctre, he said this will not only reduce pneumonia deaths in the country but will also restrict the bacteria to survive or thrive among the family members, hence reducing chances of any of the members getting ill due to the disease later on.

At present, only Polio, triple antigen, Hepatitis B, Typhoid and ECG are provided regularly in the public health care centres. ''If this vaccine is introduced in the centres, there are chances of bringing down the level of pneumonia deaths among under-two babies in the countrry, especially in West Bengal,'' Dr Chaudhury said.

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