Childhood vaccination can prevent Pneumococcal deaths, says study

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New Delhi, Jun 14 (UNI) Administering routine childhood vaccine with the 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV-7) can prevent deaths from pneumonia, sepsis and meningitis in children below five years of age, the leading cause of death in this age group, says a study.

The Pneumococcal diseases are particularly widespread in developing countries of the Asia-Pacific region, data for which is available.

According to the study which investigated the burden of deaths due to these diseases by assessing all clinical cases of pneumococcal diseases, the invasive pneumococcal disease is a substantial healthcare burden among infants in this age group.

Conducted by the International Vaccine Institute, it reviewed data from hospitals and health agencies in Bangalore city (southern zone) retrospectively collected in 2006.

A total of 2,219 hospitalisations due to the infectious diseases were reported in children less than five years of age, equalling about 15 per 1,000 children in Bangalore (southern zone).

Pneumonia was the most common manifestation of pneumococcal diseases during the study period, accounting for 44 per cent of the patients. Next was sepsis (35 per cent) and meningitis (21 per cent).

In Bangalore's southern zone, there were 178 deaths in children below five year old, almost half due to sepsis and 31 per cent from pneumonia and 20 per cent from meningitis.

The study was presented at the 6th International Symposium on Pneumococci and Pneumococcal Diseases in Iceland this month.

Citing compelling evidence for routine childhood vaccination with PCV7, Dr Kenneth K C Lee, professor and associate director of external affairs, School of Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Chinese Univsersity of Hong Kong, noted that not only did it provide protection to children and infants, but also to adults through the herd protection -- an important indirect benefit extended to adults following the vaccination of children.

The study reports incidence of invasive pneumococcal diseases burden across Asian countries ranging from 30.9 cases per 100,000 in Japan to 276 cases in Bangladesh.

Importantly, the data also highlights that PCV-7 could help prevent 57 per cent and 91 per cent of IPD cases in children younger than two years in Asia.

In the US, since the introductiom of the PCV-7, pneumonia hospitalistation declined by 39 per cent. The PCV-7, the only licensed pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, is part of the routine national childhood immunisation schedule in about 20 countires.

UNI SD ARB NS1734

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