Bad vaccines risk encephalitis epidemic in India
CJaye | September 18, 2008 at 08:33 amby
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Last year about 400 childre were killed by Japanese encephalitis in Uttar Pradesh this is just another example of bad medicine.
LUCKNOW, India: India’s government sent thousands of ineffective vaccines to a northern Indian state, halting a planned immunisation drive against a deadly outbreak of Japanese encephalitis that has killed more than 200 children since June, officials said on Wednesday.
The mistake - compounding delays in starting the immunisations - raises chances that hundreds more children could die of the disease this year, health officials warned. North India’s impoverished Uttar Pradesh state suffers from recurring annual outbreaks of the mosquito-borne disease, which causes high fevers and vomiting - and sometimes comas and death. It is particularly deadly among children.
Japanese encephalitis can be prevented by a vaccine, but stocks sent by the federal government to the state showed in testing that they were “unfit for human use,’’ state Health Minister Anant Kumar Mishra told The Associated Press in Lucknow, the state capital. “Over 1,000 people have been affected with encephalitis, and we are not sure when the fresh stock of vaccines will arrive,’’ Mishra said. “In the absence of vaccine we cannot start the vaccination drive.’’
In 2005, more than 1,500 children were killed by the disease, but the numbers dropped sharply after the government started an annual vaccination drive in 2006.