MMWR News Synopsis for MARCH 1, 2018
:: Rabies Vaccine Hesitancy and Deaths Among Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women — Vietnam, 2015–2016
As more countries expand access to rabies postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) in an effort to reach zero canine-associated human rabies deaths by 2030, special attention should focus on improving community and village health workers’ education about safety and effectiveness of rabies PEP, particularly among pregnant and breastfeeding women. Despite the availability of the life-saving PEP in Vietnam, six women — four pregnant and two breastfeeding — died of rabies during 2015-2016. Human rabies deaths are preventable through prompt administration of PEP after exposure to rabid animals. Rabies PEP consists of rabies immune globulin and a series of rabies vaccines and is safe for use among pregnant and breastfeeding women. None of the women sought PEP after being bitten by dogs. As reported by their families, the primary barrier to their receiving PEP was fear of risk to the fetus or child, highlighting the importance of education about PEP being safe and critical to preventing death following a rabies exposure.
Progress Toward Poliomyelitis Eradication — Nigeria, January–December 2017
While no wild poliovirus (WPV) cases have been reported in Nigeria since 2016, eradication activities in the northern part of the country continue to be constrained by insecurity and geography. Despite these difficulties, efforts continue to provide vaccination and surveillance to children in hard-to-reach regions. In August and September 2016, after more than two years without any reported cases of wild poliovirus (WPV), Nigeria detected four WPV cases associated with insurgency-held areas in Borno state. Since September 2016 there have been no new reported cases of WPV in Nigeria. However, polio eradication efforts, including surveillance and vaccination, have not reached many northern communities affected by the insurgency. The Nigerian government and its partners continue efforts to reach children living in inaccessible regions, but an estimated 30 percent of settlements in Borno State, with an estimated 160,000 to 210,000 children under the age of five, remain beyond reach. Commitment to strengthening vaccination coverage and surveillance in insurgent-controlled regions is needed to ensure polio eradication in Nigeria and protect every last child.