HPV vaccine also prevents uncommon childhood respiratory disease, study suggests

November 09, 2017

The vaccine that protects against cancer-causing types of human papillomavirus (HPV) also prevents an uncommon but incurable childhood respiratory disease, according to a new study published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases. The findings suggest that the chronic and difficult-to-treat condition, recurrent respiratory papillomatosis, is disappearing in Australian children as a result of the nation's highly successful HPV vaccination program.

"This is a world-first finding of evidence that the HPV vaccine has actually prevented recurrent respiratory papillomatosis cases," said study author Julia M.L. Brotherton, MD, PhD, MPH, of the Victorian Cytology Service in Melbourne, Australia. "It's really exciting that we finally have a way to prevent this terrible disease. It adds to the list of strong reasons why you as a parent should choose to vaccinate your child."

The condition is thought to occur in children when HPV (specifically, HPV type 6 or 11) is spread from mother to child around the time of birth. In some children, the virus can cause wart-like, non-cancerous growths called papillomas to develop in the respiratory tract, eventually making it difficult to breathe. The condition can be life-threatening, and repeated surgeries are usually required to keep the airway clear. Medical costs related to the disease in children total $123 million annually in the U.S., where approximately 800 children develop the condition each year, according to previously published estimates.

In the new study, Australian researchers report the initial results from a nationwide surveillance program created to monitor the disease, building on an existing program that monitors rare pediatric diseases using reports from clinicians. Seven cases of juvenile-onset recurrent respiratory papillomatosis were reported in 2012, the surveillance program's first full year. The number of new cases reported annually declined over the next five years. Clinicians reported just one case in the entire country in 2016. None of the mothers of the children who were diagnosed with the disease from 2012-2016 had been vaccinated against HPV prior to their pregnancy.

Australia's publicly funded HPV immunization program provides the quadrivalent vaccine, which protects against four HPV types (types 6, 11, 16, and 18), through school-based programs. Nationwide, 86 percent of girls and 79 percent of boys 14-15 years of age have received the first dose of the vaccine, according to current estimates. Although rates have improved in the U.S., only 60 percent of teens 13-to-17-years-old had received one or more doses of the HPV vaccine in 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported. CDC currently recommends two doses of the vaccine for teens younger than 15 and three doses for those who start the vaccine series at ages 15 through 26.

In a related editorial commentary, Basil Donovan, MD, and Denton Callander, PhD, both of the Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, and who were not involved in the study, called the downward trend in cases of recurrent respiratory papillomatosis in children encouraging. They also urged high-income countries with excellent HPV immunization rates to fully evaluate similar population-level impacts of their vaccination programs.

"National and individual vaccine hesitancy remains common," they wrote in their accompanying commentary, "and, unless these hesitant countries are persuaded by the ever-expanding benefits of quadrivalent HPV vaccination, millions of dollars in health spending along with countless unnecessary episodes of disease and death will occur in the coming decades."

Fast Facts
-end-
Editor's note: The study was funded in part by Merck's Investigator Initiated Studies Program. The study authors' and editorial commentary authors' affiliations, acknowledgments, and disclosures of financial support and potential conflicts of interests, if any, are available in the study and the commentary, which are embargoed until 12:05 a.m. ET on Thursday, Nov. 9. For an embargoed copy of the study and the commentary, please contact Stephanie Goldina (312-558-1770, sgoldina@pcipr.com).

Published continuously since 1904, The Journal of Infectious Diseases is the premier global journal for original research on infectious diseases. The editors welcome major articles and brief reports describing research results on microbiology, immunology, epidemiology, and related disciplines, on the pathogenesis, diagnosis, and treatment of infectious diseases; on the microbes that cause them; and on disorders of host immune responses. The journal is an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA). Based in Arlington, Va., IDSA is a professional society representing nearly 10,000 physicians and scientists who specialize in infectious diseases. For more information, visit http://www.idsociety.org. Follow IDSA on Facebook and Twitter.

Infectious Diseases Society of America

Related Infectious Diseases Articles from Brightsurf:

Understanding the spread of infectious diseases
Physicists at M√ľnster University (Germany) have shown in model simulations that the COVID-19 infection rates decrease significantly through social distancing.

Forecasting elections with a model of infectious diseases
Election forecasting is an innately challenging endeavor, with results that can be difficult to interpret and may leave many questions unanswered after close races unfold.

COVID-19 a reminder of the challenge of emerging infectious diseases
The emergence and rapid increase in cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus, pose complex challenges to the global public health, research and medical communities, write federal scientists from NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Certain antidepressants could provide treatment for multiple infectious diseases
Some antidepressants could potentially be used to treat a wide range of diseases caused by bacteria living within cells, according to work by researchers in the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine and collaborators at other institutions.

Opioid epidemic is increasing rates of some infectious diseases
The US faces a public health crisis as the opioid epidemic fuels growing rates of certain infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, heart infections, and skin and soft tissue infections.

Infectious diseases could be diagnosed with smartphones in sub-Saharan Africa
A new Imperial-led review has outlined how health workers could use existing phones to predict and curb the spread of infectious diseases.

The Lancet Infectious Diseases: Experts warn of a surge in vector-borne diseases as humanitarian crisis in Venezuela worsens
The ongoing humanitarian crisis in Venezuela is accelerating the re-emergence of vector-borne diseases such as malaria, Chagas disease, dengue, and Zika virus, and threatens to jeopardize public health gains in the country over the past two decades, warn leading public health experts.

Glow-in-the-dark paper as a rapid test for infectious diseases
Researchers from Eindhoven University of Technology (The Netherlands) and Keio University (Japan) present a practicable and reliable way to test for infectious diseases.

Math shows how human behavior spreads infectious diseases
Mathematics can help public health workers better understand and influence human behaviors that lead to the spread of infectious disease, according to a study from the University of Waterloo.

Many Americans say infectious and emerging diseases in other countries will threaten the US
An overwhelming majority of Americans (95%) think infectious and emerging diseases facing other countries will pose a 'major' or 'minor' threat to the U.S. in the next few years, but more than half (61%) say they are confident the federal government can prevent a major infectious disease outbreak in the US, according to a new national public opinion survey commissioned by Research!America and the American Society for Microbiology.

Read More: Infectious Diseases News and Infectious Diseases Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.