Argentina Using Cuban Leptospirosis Vaccine
A Cuban vaccine for leptospirosis is being applied in Argentina's first campaign to address what has become a serious health concern in several areas of the Entre Ríos Province.
According to Provincial Secretary of Health Dr Mario Elizalde, 20 years ago, there were very few isolated cases of leprosy in the province. But in recent years, agricultural expansion and the widespread use of pesticides have decimated the populations of natural predators that had previously kept the rodent population under control, prompting the current epidemic. "We went from having 10 rodents to having 10,000," Elizalde told the Argentine press.
As a result of this population explosion, leptospirosis is now endemic in towns like Villaguay, where the current vaccination effort has begun with the Cuban trivalent vaccine Vax Spiral® developed and produced by Havana's Finlay Institute (See Vax-Spiral ®. Trivalent Antileptospirosis Vaccine For Human Use; Research, Development And Impact On The Disease In Cuba. MEDICC Review. Vol. 6, No. 4. 2004. http://www.medicc.org/publications/medicc_review/
The first stage of campaign is already under way, vaccinating the teams who will carry out the drive, as well as local firefighters, before moving on to the initial target population of 5,000 residents of Villaguay.
Cuba produces the world's only effective vaccine for leptospirosis. In 2006, Argentine health officials traveled to Cuba to visit the vaccine's production facilities and began exploring its use. After a positive evaluation of the vaccine, Argentina's National Immunization Commission recommended its application in Entre Ríos. In November 2007, over 50,000 doses were purchased, enough to vaccinate 25,000 residents.
Given current conditions and spread of the rodent population, provincial health authorities now say that half the province may need to be vaccinated.
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