London, UK, 09 August 2006 The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) today publishes research showing that routine vaccination of infants in Kenya against H. influenzae Type b (Hib) significantly reduced invasive Hib disease to 88% below baseline.
The paper, entitled: Effectiveness of Haemophilus influenzae Type b (Hib) Conjugate Vaccine Introduction into Routine Childhood Immunization in Kenya, was authored by a team led by Oxford University's Dr. Anthony Scott. Three years after introduction, Hib vaccination was responsible for:
Commenting on the study, Karen Cowgill, lead author and, at the time of the study, Epidemic Intelligence Service officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US, said: "These results demonstrate the effectiveness of the Hib vaccine in reducing severe childhood illness and associated deaths in Kenya, and lead us to conclude that many more deaths could be averted in Africa if more countries were to adopt the vaccine as part of their national EPI programs."
This is the first published study in East Africa to document the significant benefit of routine Hib vaccination in protecting young children against the devastating effects of a leading cause of childhood meningitis and pneumonia. The findings build on a considerable body of growing evidence from Africa and around the world: similar results have been observed in The Gambia, Chile, the US, and UK. The findings contained within the study can reasonably be expected to apply to other African settings too.
Recently, a number of developing countries have begun routinely vaccinating children against Hib disease. Yet despite the overwhelming evidence and support in favor of these vaccines, less than 40% of African countries have adopted
Contact: Lois Privor-Dumm
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health