February 10, 2009

Spain Withdraws 76,000 Doses Of Gardisil

Health authorities in Spain have withdrawn a batch of 76,000 doses of Gardisil cervical cancer vaccine after two teens in the eastern Valencia region fell seriously ill and were hospitalized hours after receiving the shots, officials said Tuesday.

"One of the girls got out of intensive care this weekend and the other is still there. Both are in stable condition," said a Valencia health department spokeswoman in an interview with AFP.

The two girls were vaccinated last week as part of a large government program aimed at vaccinating adolescent girls.

The vaccine prevents the most common types of human papillomavirus virus (HPV), a sexually transmitted virus believed responsible for a majority of cervical cancers.

In a statement, Spanish health authorities said the batch of Gardasil brand vaccines was distributed throughout the country, with some intended for regional vaccination programs and the rest sold at pharmacies.  The vaccine has been available for girls since 2006.

Some half million cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed annually, according to United Nations figures, many of which occur in developing nations. If left untreated, invasive cervical cancer is nearly always fatal.


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