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By Allianz Worldwide Care | December 11, 2015
Statistics from the World Health Organisation (WHO) show that dengue is the fastest growing mosquito borne disease in the world, with approximately 40 percent of the world's population (3.9 billion people) at risk of contracting the disease.
The Dengvaxia vaccine has been developed over the past 20 years by French pharmaceutical company Sanofi, and will be available only to children over the age of nine, and adults under 49 who live in areas where the disease is endemic.
"The Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risks (COFEPRIS) has approved Dengvaxia, tetravalent dengue vaccine, for the prevention of disease caused by all four dengue virus serotypes in preadolescents, adolescents and adults.", the company announced in a statement.
Sanofi has requested regulatory approval in 20 countries across Asia and Latin America, but Mexico was the first to approve the vaccine.
The approval of the Dengvaxia vaccine by Mexican authorities, followed two years of clinical trials worldwide on more than 40,000 people from 15 countries. The trials found Dengvaxia can immunise approximately 60 percent of people aged nine years and older, rising to 93 percent for the more severe form of the disease, dengue hemorrhagic fever.
Dengue is transmitted by the bite of a mosquito infected with one of the four dengue virus serotypes. It is a febrile illness that affects infants, young children and adults with symptoms appearing 3-14 days after the infective bite. Dengue is not transmitted directly from person-to-person.
Symptoms range from mild fever, to incapacitating high fever, with severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pain, and rash.
Severe dengue (also known as dengue hemorrhagic fever) is characterised by fever, abdominal pain, persistent vomiting, bleeding and breathing difficulty and mainly affects children.
Dengue is now endemic in more than 100 countries, with globalisation, urbanisation, climate change and increased jet travel accelerating its movement into more temperate zones.
According to Olivier Charmeil, head of Sanofi’s vaccines division, the vaccine marks "a very important moment in the history of public health,". Other pharmaceutical companies, including Takeda in Japan and U.S Merck are also working on dengue vaccines, but are thought to be several years behind Sanofi.
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World Health Organisation