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Increased Focus On Vaccine For Dengue Fever Is Critical To Curb Spread Of Disease

In this GlobalPost opinion piece, Zulfiqar Bhutta, Husein Laljee Dewraj professor and head of the Division of Maternal and Child Health at the Aga Khan University Medical Center in Karachi, Pakistan, and Ciro de Quadros, executive vice president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute and former director of the Division of Vaccines and Immunization at PAHO, examine the need for a dengue fever vaccine as Pakistan struggles to curb an outbreak of the disease that to date has killed 60 people and has infected more than 8,000. “The need for a dengue vaccine is clear,” and “[w]ithout a vaccine to prevent dengue, we must redouble our efforts to effectively treat this infectious threat, starting with improving diagnostics,” they write.

“Today, dengue is naturally present in more than 100 countries in the Americas, the eastern Mediterranean, Southeast Asia, the western Pacific and Africa — making outbreaks, and even epidemics, a common occurrence,” they write. “But for the first time in recent history, an innovative dengue vaccine is within our reach … To turn a vaccine into a true victory against dengue will require a good deal more work on the part of the international global health community and the governments of endemic countries,” they conclude (9/28).