Immunization Program Management

Human Cytomegalovirus: Silent Killer

Many of us are infected with a virus we'll never clear. While we're healthy, it's nothing to worry about, but when our immune system is suppressed it could kill. To catch the herpes virus human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) you must be exposed to someone who has it. This isn't difficult: it is carried by around 65% of the population. Once in the body, HCMV persists for life owing to its clever ability to avoid our immune system and to go into hiding inside our cells in a latent state. Now, research is identifying changes in these cells that could lead to a new route to eradicating the virus.

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In Ethiopia, a far-reaching health worker programme has helped reduce child mortality across the country

For a country that once made headlines for famine, poverty and war, Ethiopia is gaining a reputation as a development leader on the African continent. In just over 10 years, the country has slashed child mortality rates by half, rising in global rank from 146 in 2000 to 68 in 2012.  More money is being spent on health care, poverty levels and fertility rates are down, and twice as many children are in school.

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Vaccine stops deadly sand-fly-spread scourge in animal test

A lethal parasite appears susceptible to an experimental vaccine that seizes upon the scourge’s apparatus for invading cells.

Researchers prompted animals’ immune systems to destroy Leishmania protozoa by inducing mass-production of the very protein receptor that the parasites use as a pry bar to break into blood cells. Alerting the immune system to the receptor protein protects mice and hamsters against the parasites, the scientists report in the Sept. 11 Science Translational Medicine.

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New, even more effective HPV vaccine in sight

A recently published paper by the Department of Immunodermatology at the Medical University of Vienna has unveiled a second-generation prophylactic HPV vaccine. In future, this will not only protect against the majority of genital high and low-risk types, but also the types that are responsible for the development of skin warts.

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Ghana Targets Zero HIV/AIDS Deaths By 2015

Ghana’s ambition of attaining zero new Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infections, discrimination, and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)-related deaths by 2015 is attainable.

Dr Angela El-Adas, Director General of the Ghana AIDS Commission, who made the remarks, added that Ghana needed to apply sound evidence to plan and fully finance implementation of the interventions to attain the ambition.

She was speaking on Tuesday at the Third National HIV and AIDS Research Conference 2013, organised in Accra.

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Meningitis vaccine a "stunning" success

A new meningitis vaccine being rolled out in Chad has resulted in an astonishing 94 percent drop in the incidence of all types of the disease, according to a study being published this week in the Lancet.

The study’s author, Brian Greenwood of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, described it as one of the most dramatic outcomes he had ever seen in a public health intervention.

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Cape babies at risk as vaccines run low

Thousands of babies and young children in the Western Cape are at risk of contracting serious contagious diseases as the provincial Department of Health ran out of some vaccines as far back as five months ago.

Department spokesperson Faiza Steyn confirmed there was a shortage of oral polio vaccine, measles and hepatitis B vaccines across clinics in the province, a shortage that stemmed from the national immunisation programme.

There were also reports of a shortage of the BCG vaccine, which protects against TB.

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Kano, JAP Pledge To Stop Polio By December

Kano State government, in collaboration with Journalist Against Polio (JAP) and the support from WHO, UNICEF and BMG Foundation, has pledged to work toward meeting the stipulated goal of interrupting polio in the state by December 2013.

This pledge has been a refrain by the stakeholders in polio issues in the state considering the challenge it poses to the state as it remains the only place where polio is prevalent, in addition to non-compliance of parents in some parts which threaten to derail the effort of combating the disease.

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India gets WHO praise on polio front; no case in 30 months

WHO on Tuesday lauded India’s efforts in eradicating polio and said the country has not reported a single case of polio in the last 30 months.

“You did it. For 30 months you have not got a single case of polio,” WHO Director General Margaret Chan said while addressing the meeting of Health Ministers of South-East Asia Region in the presence of President Pranab Mukherjee.

She said India achieved the feat even as 194 countries in the world were speculating whether it can interrupt the transmission of polio.

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Strain of HIV virus found in monkeys is cleared by vaccine

A vaccine designed to tackle SIV, the monkey equivalent of HIV, may have successfully cleared the virus from infected animals, paving the way for research into a HIV vaccine for humans. 

It was previously thought that both the human and simian immunodeficiency viruses could be managed with antiretroviral therapies, but not eradicated.

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