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Meningococcal Disease Already Down 50% in Manukau

Meningococcal Disease Already Down 50% in Counties Manukau

Ron Law - Independent Risk & Policy Analyst

"Meningococcal Disease Cases have plummeted by 55% during the past 12 months in the first District Health Board region to use the experimental MeNZB(tm) vaccine," says Independent Risk & Policy Analyst, Ron Law.

The decline began months before introduction of the MeNZB(tm) vaccine and analysis of monthly total cases shows that the MeNZB(tm) has had no impact to date. [see attachments]

Given that only 40% of cases in Counties Manukau since 1997 have been confirmed as being due to the bacterial strain targeted by the MeNZB(tm) vaccine, and given that there has never been any evidence that the MeNZB(tm) vaccine would reduce the incidence of meningococcal disease this is perhaps not surprising.

Forty-six percent of cases in Counties Manukau from 1997 to 2004 have tested negative in the laboratory, a negative rate equaled only in Auckland and Waitemata District Health Board regions.

No doubt officials will argue that it's too soon to tell whether the MeNZB(tm) vaccine is working or not.

"That may prove to be the case, but given the sharp ongoing decline in case numbers prior to the introduction of the MeNZB(tm) vaccine and the lack of double-blind placebo controlled trials, any link that officials may try and make between the rapid decline and the introduction of the MeNZB(tm) vaccine will require some very creative science and very good spin-doctors," says Ron Law

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