The Pediatric Dengue Vaccine Initiative Introduces www.DengueWatch.org – a News hub for Tracking Dengue Fever Epidemics Worldwide

March 8, 2010

SEOUL, March 9, 2010 /PRNewswire/ — PDVI (Pediatric Dengue Vaccine
Initiative), a program of the International Vaccine Institute (IVI) funded by
the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, announces today the launch of
http://www.denguewatch.org, a news hub for tracking dengue fever epidemics
worldwide. Breaking news articles from reliable sources are displayed on a
world map according to the location of dengue outbreaks. Dengue fever is
endemic in over 100 countries and puts at risk half of the world’s population.

“Denguewatch.org is an important public health tool providing instant
access to news regarding dengue fever epidemics and their impact on global
health,” said Dr. John Clemens, IVI Director General, and PDVI Acting
Director. “We believe that news reports about dengue hot spots and other
important developments can help public health officials track the spread and
understand the growing importance of this disease.”

Denguewatch.org reports worldwide news alerts provided by Healthmap.org,
a freely available Web site. HealthMap is a system based at Children’s
Hospital Boston, Massachusetts in collaboration with Harvard Medical School,
MIT Media Lab and the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology
which integrates outbreak data of varying reliability, ranging from news
sources (such as Google News) to curated personal accounts (such as ProMED)
to validated official alerts (such as World Health Organization). Dengue news
is aggregated and displayed by location for user-friendly access to the
original alert.

“The Internet has become a critical medium for clinicians, public health
practitioners, and the public seeking health information,” said John S.
, Ph.D., co-founder of Healthmap.org with Clark Freifeld, “We are
proud to collaborate with PDVI for http://www.denguewatch.org and we believe
it can help foster surveillance and prevention of dengue fever worldwide.”

Dengue: a global health threat

Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne disease caused by four types of dengue
viruses (type 1 to 4). Overall, the disease is a potential threat for almost
half of the world’s population. Of the estimated 230 million people infected
annually, two million, mostly children, develop dengue hemorrhagic fever
(DHF), a severe form of the disease[1]. DHF is a leading cause of
hospitalization, placing tremendous pressure on strained medical resources.

Dengue fever occurs mostly in tropical and subtropical countries in Asia
and Latin America and is spreading to new parts of the globe each year. In
addition, dengue affects countries such as Australia (Queensland) and the
United States
(Puerto Rico, Texas-Mexico border, Hawaii and the US-affiliated
Pacific Islands). A substantial number of people travelling to endemic
regions are also infected each year.

Expansion of dengue fever is driven by increased movement of people[2],
massive unplanned urbanization, added to a lack of effective mosquito
control[3]. Dengue prevention requires fostering a thorough knowledge of the

About PDVI

The Pediatric Dengue Vaccine Initiative, a program of the International
Vaccine Institute (IVI) founded in 2001, aims to reduce the burden of dengue
disease by accelerating the development, evaluation and introduction of
affordable dengue vaccines. PDVI works with public and private partners to
accelerate the development and introduction of a dengue vaccine that is safe,
effective and affordable for children in endemic countries. PDVI is funded by
the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. For more information, please visit our
website: http://www.pdvi.org

About the IVI

The International Vaccine Institute (IVI) is the world’s only
international organization devoted exclusively to developing and introducing
new and improved vaccines for the world’s poorest people, especially children
in developing countries. Established as an initiative of the United Nations
Development Program in 1997, the IVI operates under a treaty signed by 40
countries and the World Health Organization. IVI conducts research in more
than 20 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America on vaccines against
diarrheal infections, bacterial meningitis and pneumonia, Japanese
encephalitis, dengue fever and more. For further information, please visit:


[1] Beatty M Letson GW Margolis HS, Estimating the global burden of
dengue., Am J Trop Med Hygiene 81, 5 :231 2009

[2] Mackenzie JS, Gubler DJ, Petersen LR. Nat Med 2004 Dec; 10 (12 Supll)

[3] Mackenzie JS, Gubler DJ, Petersen LR. Nat Med 2004 Dec; 10 (12 Supll)

SOURCE Pediatric Dengue Vaccine Initiative (PDVI)

Source: newswire

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