Dengue is without a doubt, one of the most dangerous mosquito-borne diseases a child can contract. So, when the trial of a new dengue vaccine in the Philippines was announced, other Asian countries had hope. Could there finally be a way of preventing this disease?
However, a recent study published in The New England Journal of Medicine has confirmed that the Dengvaxia vaccine actually increases the risk of dengue for those who haven’t been infected before. This coincides with the previous recommendation from the WHO that the vaccine should not be used without testing for any previous dengue exposure.
Confirmed: Dengvaxia Increases the Risk of Dengue in Children
In November of last year, Sanofi issued a warning that the vaccine could increase the risk of severe dengue. As a result, the WHO recommended that prior testing for Dengvaxia exposure is necessary before giving patients the vaccine.
The new study supports the WHO’s recommendation, confirming that Dengvaxia increases the risk of dengue in children – particularly those who haven’t been previously infected with the virus.
“Our findings support the hypothesis that in the absence of previous dengue exposure, the (Sanofi) vaccine partially mimics primary infection and increases the risk of severe dengue,” the researchers said.
The researchers added that among uninfected children who received the vaccine, the rate of hospitalisation increased for children aged 9-16.
In the Philippines, the government has vaccinated over 800,000 schoolchildren during a vaccination campaign. The Philippine government did not do any prior testing before giving the vaccine, so the lives of these 800,000 schoolchildren might be at risk as a result.
Protect Your Children from Dengue
The most important step that parents can do to protect their children from dengue is to prevent mosquito bites. As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Here Are Some Things that You Can Do at Home:
- Make sure that your surroundings are clean, and that there are no containers with standing water. Mosquitoes lay eggs in standing water.
- Spray insecticide around your house. Fumigation can help kill any mosquitoes that can potentially spread dengue.
- Screens on windows and doors are very important. Screens help prevent mosquitoes from getting inside your home.
- Use insect repellent sprays or lotions. This is especially important for kids who go to school, since it helps protect them wherever they are.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants. Covering up skin can help prevent mosquitoes from biting.
- If you have a baby at home, keep their crib or stroller covered.
- Utilise natural methods of controlling mosquitoes. There are plants that mosquitoes naturally avoid, such as lavender, marigold, and rosemary.
Source: Straits Times
Republished with permission from: theAsianParent Philippines