A dengue vaccination could be ready before the end of the year and Mexico could be the first country to approve its use, according to federal Health Secretary Mercedes Juan.
“We can count on the vaccine very soon,” the official said this week. “ It will be a great advance for Mexico and for other countries where dengue is an endemic disease.”
Dengue fever, which is spread by mosquitoes, is often identified as the world’s fastest growing tropical disease. It provokes high temperatures and intense joint pain and infects around 100 million people every year, killing an estimated 20,000.
Because people infected with the dengue virus often only exhibit mild, flu-like symptoms, the disease is frequently under reported.
In Jalisco, cases of dengue have actually dropped by 73 percent compared to 2014. Yet health authorities are keen to stress the importance of taking preventive measures. These include not leaving out containers of water that can lead to a proliferation of mosquitoes. Using repellent and wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants in areas where mosquitoes are prevalent is another precaution.
At a recent health summit in Quintana Roo, medical specialists said the dengue vaccine will be applied as a subcutaneous injection three times in six-month intervals.
The vaccine will be commercialized by French drugmaker Sanofi, which last year concluded its second and final clinical trial on 20,875 children aged 9-16 in five Latin American countries, including Mexico. The firm said the research showed that the vaccine provided high protection against dengue hemorrhagic fever and cut the risk of hospitalization by 80 percent.
Mexico’s health regulator (Cofepris) is expected to approve use of the vaccine in the second half of 2015.