23 May Invest in vaccines for children worldwide
Linda Horkitz, The Miami Herald
Last year more than one million mothers in the developing world lost their young children to diseases that could have been prevented by vaccines. But next year could be different. Pneumococcal disease (the main cause of pneumonia) and rotavirus (the leading cause of severe, dehydrating diarrhea) are responsible for nearly 40 percent of all childhood deaths. Two new vaccines can provide immunity from both.
Pneumococcal disease is an infection from a bacterium that can attack young children with deadly results. Every year 800,000 youngsters die from pneumococcal disease; the vast majority of these deaths occur in Africa and Asia. Most deaths from this disease are from pneumonia, which occurs when the bacteria infect the lungs and cause fever, coughing, and difficulty breathing. Pneumococcal disease can also cause meningitis by infecting the brain.