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GPs’ surgeries get leaflets to improve knowledge of vaccines

3 September 2007

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Free booklets detailing the importance of vaccines are to be distributed in GPs’ surgeries in a bid to prevent dangerous diseases making a comeback.

Health experts believe the public’s knowledge of vaccines is poor because some serious infections, such as typhoid, appear to be on the rise.

An analysis of figures from the Health Protection Agency (HPA) shows there has been a 69% surge in typhoid cases in recent years, with most acquired abroad.

Five years ago, there were 147 typhoid cases reported in England and Wales, with 101 of those contracted overseas.

But by last year this had leapt to 248 cases, of which 122 were picked up abroad.

And a milder strain of the disease called paratyphoid has shown a 78% jump during the same period.

The figures have prompted health experts to launch a new campaign, fronted by TV star Tony Robinson, to spread the message about vaccines.

Dr Jane Zuckerman, director of the Centre for Travel Medicine at the Royal Free Hospital in north London, said: “If enough of us decide not to inoculate, we run a real risk of spreading disease.

“We have seen vaccine-preventable diseases like typhoid on the increase because people travel abroad to endemic areas without being vaccinated and return sick to the UK.”

Copyright © PA Business 2007

UK Vaccine Industry Group