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Pakistan's Dengue Fever Epidemic is Expanding

December 15, 2021 • 5:47 pm CST
(Vax Before Travel)

The World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed o December 14, 2021, dengue fever is endemic in Pakistan, and it is intensifying in the Punjab province's Lahore district. 

From January to November 25, 2021, the WHO reported a total of 48,906 cases, including 183 deaths (case fatality ratio (CFR): 0.4%) had been reported from four Pakistan provinces.

The Punjab province reported the highest number of cases, with 24,146 cases and 127 deaths (CFR: 0.5%).

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, a border province with Afghanistan, reported the second-largest number of cases with 10,223 cases, accounting for 21% of all patients and ten deaths (CFR: 0.1%).

As dengue is recurrent in Pakistan, the population may be at risk of re-infection, and therefore, severe complications if not treated promptly and correctly. 

The federal and provincial health departments are implementing various public health measures, including vector surveillance and control activities, but not vaccination programs.

However, the WHO does not recommend any general trade restrictions to Pakistan based on the information available for this dengue reporting period.  

In the U.S., the U.S. CDC confirmed 86 dengue cases (California, Florida, Texas) and 473 in the U.S. Territories (Puerto Rico) as of December 1, 2021.

Most of these dengue cases are related to international travel.

As a preventive measure, the U.S. FDA authorized the Dengvaxia vaccine for limited use on May 1, 2019, for people with laboratory-confirmed previous dengue infection and living in endemic areas.

Furthermore, a new, innovative dengue vaccine is nearing the approval stage.

Takeda Pharmaceutical's TAK-003 is an investigational live-attenuated tetravalent dengue vaccine, preventing dengue fever caused by any of the four dengue virus serotypes, each of which can cause dengue fever or Severe Dengue. 

Takeda recently announced that the European Medicines Agency had accepted the Company's filing packages for TAK-003.

Takeda is submitting regulatory filings in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and Thailand during late 2021.