Global Trends in the Epidemiology of Invasive Meningococcal Disease and Vaccine Solutions

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 Dr. Wolfgang Bender speaks on

Global Trends in the Epidemiology of
Invasive Meningococcal Disease
and Vaccine Solutions

KARACHI: Dr Wolfgang Bender, Head Medical Affairs International Novartis Vaccines discussed Global Trends in the Epidemiology of Invasive Meningococcal Disease and Vaccine Solutions at a live webinar from Singapore during 21st Biennial Pediatric conference held Karachi recently. It was chaired by Prof. Iqbal Memon President PPA while Dr. Syed Tahir Ali from Liaquat National Hospital and Dr Sumbul Ishtiaq Medical Advisor Novartis Pharma acted as Moderators. The webinar was largely attended by Pediatricians.

Prof. Iqbal Memon along with Dr. Syed Tahir Ali chairing a Webinar on Global Trends in the
Epidemiology of Invasive Meningococcal Disease and Vaccine Solutions during
21st Biennial Pediatric conference held Karachi recently.

During his talk Dr Wolfgang Bender emphasized on the unpredictable trends in the epidemiology of Meningococcal Disease induced by travelling to endemic areas resulting in frequent epidemics globally, He also drew the attention of the audience to the underestimated disease burden of meningococcal meningitis in Pakistan and endorsed the need of vaccinating the young individuals against this deadly disease. Invasive Meningococcal Disease (IMD) is unpredictable, sometimes difficult to diagnose early, progresses rapidly and has the potential to have a devastating impact on victims and their families. In general, infants, particularly young infants are most at risk of IMD. In some countries a second peak occurs in adolescence and early adulthood. Neisseria meningitidis serogroup distribution varies globally and trends are unpredictable, he added.
Continuing Dr. Wolfgang Bender said that carriage of Neisseria meningitidis has been shown to increase dramatically in crowded conditions. Vaccination programmes against IMD have shown to be highly successful in reducing morbidity and mortality. Pakistan remains at more risk due to the extensive travel of pilgrims throughout the year to endemic zones. These pilgrims may contract the carrier state and are serious threat to the local population as one of the biggest predisposing factors for the spread of meningococcal meningitis. Conjugate vaccines are the ultimate solution against this serious threat and it provides long lasting immunity, effective both in children and adults and also reduces carrier state which results in creating the herd immunity. The variability and unpredictability of serogroup distribution drives the need for vaccines that help protect against all meningococcal serogroups in all age groups.
Dr. Tahir Ali in his concluding remarks said that IMD starts with non-specific symptoms like fever and Flu like symptoms and within hours can progress to life threatening complications like generalized petechial rash, Hypotension, shock and eventually death. Even with adequate timely management, the morbidity and mortality is extremely high. We know with our previous experiences, that the introduction of a vaccine in EPI will drastically reduce the incidence of the disease (HiB). Now with the introduction of pneumococcal vaccination in EPI we expect that the incidence of IPD should also decrease. This brings the important issue of vaccinating against N. Meningitis. The data coming out of both Saudi Arabia and China is convincing as in both countries, the number of cases are decreasing after start of immunization. The number of cases in Pakistani pilgrims for Hajj is still on the rise in spite of a general decreasing trend, and reason: is a fake vaccination certificate. As the second peak is in the adolescent age-group, it is a mandatory requirement for students travelling/ seeking admissions to overseas universities to have vaccinations against N. Meningitis, he added.
Earlier in her introductory remarks Dr. Sumbal Ishtiaq said that Novartis is a World leader in offering medicines to protect health, cure diseases and improve well being. We are committed to develop innovative healthcare solutions to meet the evolving needs of patients and societies Worldwide. Novartis Vaccines is World’s fifth largest vaccines manufacturer and second largest supplier of flu vaccines in the USA. Vaccine product also include meningococcal, pediatric and travel vaccines.

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