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WORLD HEALTH EXPERTS TO REPORT PROGRESS ON VACCINES AGAINST ROTAVIRUS—DEADLY DISEASE IN LATIN AMERICA AND DEVELOPING COUNTRIES

Experts to Address Urgent Need To Get Vaccines to World's Poorest Children and Prevent 500,000 Child Deaths Each Year

With vaccines against the killer disease of rotavirus almost in hand, government representatives, scientists, public health professionals and vaccine industry representatives will meet in Mexico City to review progress toward safe, effective rotavirus vaccines and address the question of how to make sure they get to the world's poorest children. New data on the extent and burden of the virus in developing countries, and insights into its biology and pathology will also be reported at the Sixth International Symposium on Rotavirus, from 7-9 July.

Rotavirus can cause severe diarrhea and vomiting, resulting in dehydration that kills 500,000 children a year. Nearly every child in the world gets it by the time they are five years old, however, 85 percent of deaths occur in developing countries with limited health services. Countries in Latin America are likely to be the first to introduce a rotavirus vaccine into routine childhood immunization. The Symposium will tackle pressing scientific, social, and economic issues confronting rotavirus prevention, such as: How can rotavirus vaccines be made affordable to the world's poorest nations? What are the best mechanisms for vaccine finance and introduction?

Experts present will include:

  • Jon Andrus, Pan American Health Organization
  • Ruth Bishop, discoverer of rotavirus
  • Roger Glass, U. S. CDC
  • Albert Kapikian, rotavirus vaccine inventor
  • Roberto Tapia Conyer, Mexico Ministry of Health
  • Ciro de Quadros, Sabin Vaccine Institute

Also present will be leading scientists and health ministers from throughout Central and South America; vaccine industry representatives involved in rotavirus vaccines development; and experts from leading public health and donor organizations, including the World Health Organization, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, and the Rotavirus Vaccine Program.

WHEN: July 7-9, 2004

WHERE:  Mexico City, Mexico
                   PRESIDENTE INTERCONTINENTAL HOTEL
                   Campos Eliseos 218, Polanco Zone
                   Phone +52 (55) 53277700

Two sessions of special note include: "Results with New Rotavirus Vaccines," 9:00AM, July 8, and "From Vaccine to EPI Implementation and Funding," 9:00AM, July 9.

The symposium is being convened by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Albert B. Sabin Vaccine Institute, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

For additional conference details, visit www.internationalrotavirus.com.

For more information, please contact: Raymond MacDougall, Sabin Vaccine Institute, 202-265-6517, raymond.macdougall@sabin.org, or Daniel Epstein, Office of Public Information, (202) 974-3459, e-mail: epsteind@paho.org.