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NIAID Launches Clinical Trials Of Dengue Vaccine

After more than a decade of development, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has started clinical trials to test a vaccine to protect against the dengue virus, a product researchers hope may one day “help prevent a disease to which 2.5 billion people are exposed,” CIDRAP News reports (Roos, 8/9).

PAHO Documents Increase In Dengue Fever Cases In Latin America

Countries in Latin America “are bracing this year for a particularly virulent outbreak of the mosquito-borne tropical disease” known as dengue fever, after reports show an increase in the number of cases recorded this year, Agence France-Presse reports. “The Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) said so far it has logged some 146,000 cases in the first three months of the year, of which 79 have been fatal. This time last year there were some 79,000 cases of dengue reported, with 26 deaths,” the news service writes.

Also In Global Health News: Halted WFP Operations In Somalia; India Food Security; Dengue In Puerto Rico; MDR-TB In Peru

Militants In Somalia Demand WFP Halt Operations “Somalia’s Islamist al-Shabaab militia ordered the World Food Programme [WFP] to halt operations in the country, accusing the United Nations agency of undermining domestic agriculture and supporting foreign troops,” Bloomberg/BusinessWeek reports (Omar, 3/1). “Even in the best years, arid Somalia is only able…

Recent Releases In Global Health

ASTMH Meeting Blog: The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene’s (ASTMH) “Annual Meeting Blog” has a number of posts from this week’s gathering, including: “The ethics of overseas clinical research”; an interview with John Cook, former ASTMH president; American attention to dengue fever; a profile of Michele Barry, senior…

Sanofi Pasteur’s Dengue Vaccine Enters Phase III Trial In Australia

Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of the pharmaceutical group Sanofi-Aventis, on Thursday announced the company had begun testing its dengue fever vaccine in a Phase III clinical trial in Australia, Dow Jones/Wall Street Journal reports. “Sanofi-Aventis already performed earlier clinical tests on children and adults with the vaccine in the U.S., Asia and Latin America,” Dow Jones/Wall Street Journal adds (Landauro, 11/4).

Also In Global Health News: WFP In North Korea; Maternal Health In Indonesia; Possible Vaccine Contamination; GM Mosquitoes In Malaysia; Mobile Micro-Insurance In Kenya

World Food Programme Director Visits North Korea, Tours Food Factory U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director Josette Sheeran and former U.S. Special Envoy Jack Pritchard arrived in North Korea Tuesday, Agence France-Presse reports (11/2). The visit is WFP’s “first top-level visit to the communist country in nearly 10 years,” the…

Sri Lankan Health Officials Report Increase In Number Of Dengue Cases In First Quarter Compared To 2011

Sri Lankan health authorities “have reported a three-fold increase in the number of recorded dengue fever cases in the first quarter of this year,” IRIN reports. According to the national Epidemiology Unit, “9,317 dengue cases and 38 deaths were reported in the first three months of 2012, [compared with] 3,103 in the first quarter of 2011,” the news service writes, noting that more than half of the cases were recorded “in the country’s Western Province, where most of the island’s 20 million inhabitants live.” Intermittent rain, which allows stagnant water to collect and create mosquito breeding grounds, are expected to continue through April, and “[h]ealth officials agree that removing mosquito breeding sites is the most important step in mitigating risk,” according to IRIN. “In May 2010 the government launched a campaign to curb the spread of the disease,” and last year the number of cases dropped when compared to 2010, the news service notes (4/11).

Flightless Mosquitoes Could Fight Dengue, Study Says

By rendering female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes – the dengue virus vector – unable to fly, scientists say they may be able to slow the spread of the virus which experts believe “affects up to 100 million people a year and threatens over a third of the world’s population,” the BBC reports. Currently, there is no treatment for dengue nor a vaccine to protect against the virus.

Dengue Fever Costs Puerto Rico Nearly $38M A Year, Study Shows

“The costs of treating and coping with dengue fever in Puerto Rico total nearly $38 million a year, a new study,” published Wednesday in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, finds, according to U.S. News & World Report. “It also said that every $1 spent on surveillance and prevention of the mosquito-borne disease could save $5 in illness-related costs,” the news service reports (5/2). “A team of researchers from Brandeis University says households in the U.S. territory pay almost half of that cost, with the government and insurance companies splitting the rest,” the Associated Press/Seattle Times notes (5/2).