Use of Vaccines to Eradicate Infectious Disease

Abstract

Smallpox and Rinderpest have been eradicated by vaccines, and polio is likely to be a third. The key elements to a successful programme include the need for a technically suitable but not necessarily perfect vaccine, good understanding of the disease and its transmission, willingness to adapt approaches, adequate surveillance mechanisms, political and societal commitment and funding. The programmes so far have been drawn out over decades so the commitment must be long term. The tools to eradicate measles and rubella are already available, and programmes in South America provide proof of principle. Other diseases such as malaria or yellow fever may be more problematic, and certain diseases such as tuberculosis and AIDS are intractable to vaccination at the time of writing. Other strategies not dependent on vaccines may be applicable. The programmes are expensive but less so than living with the burden of preventable disease.

Key Concepts

  • Eradication by vaccination has technical requirements to do with the disease and the availability of adequate vaccines.
  • It requires political and societal commitment and flexibility of approach.
  • It is a longā€term effort extending over decades.
  • There are diseases that could be eradicated with existing tools.
  • Not all eradication efforts require a vaccine.

Keywords: transmission; vaccines; eradication programmes; political commitment; smallpox; Rinderpest; poliomyelitis; funding

Figure 1. Poster produced by WHO in mid‐1978, publicising the reward for finding a confirmed case of smallpox. Reproduced with permission form the World Health Organisation.
close

References

Carter Center (2015) Guinea worm eradication program. http://www.cartercenter.org/health/guinea_worm/index.html. Last accessed 6 May 2015.

Collier LH (1954) The development of a stable smallpox vaccine. Journal of Hygiene 53: 76–101.

Duintjer‐Tebbens RJ, Pallansch MA, Cochi SL, et al (2011) Economic analysis of the global polio eradication initiative. Vaccine 29: 334–343.

Fenner F, Henderson DA, Arita I, Jezeck Z and Ladnyi ID (1988) Smallpox and its eradication (Chapter 10). In: The Intensified Programme 1967–1980, pp. 421–593. Geneva: World Health Organisation. ISBN: 92-4-156110-6. History of International Public Health, no. 6.

Frederiksen H (1962) Strategy and tactics for smallpox eradication. Public Health Reports 77: 617–622.

Henderson DA (1999) Eradication: Lessons from the past. MMWR 48 (SU01): 16–22.

Inter African Bureau for Animal Resources (2011) The Eradication of Rinderpest from Africa a Great Milestone. http://rea.au.int/ar/sites/default/files/Eradication_of_Rinderpest_from_Africa_A_great_milestone.pdf. Last accessed 6 May 2015.

Meissner HC, Strebel PM and Orenstein WA (2004) Measles vaccines and the potential for world‐wide eradication of measles. Pediatrics 114: 1065–1069.

Minor PD (2012) The polio eradication programme and issues of the endgame. Journal of General Virology 93: 457–474.

NCBI Bookshelf (2015) Malaria. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK234333/. Last accessed 6 May 2015.

Nelson A (1999) The cost of disease eradication. Smallpox and bovine tuberculosis. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 894: 83–91.

WHO (2014) Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan 2013–2018. www.polioeradication.org/Resourcelibrary/Strategyandwork.aspx Last accessed 6 May 2015.

WHO (2015) Polio eradication. http://www.who.int/topics/poliomyelitis/en/ (last accessed 6 May 2015).

Further Reading

Aylward B and Tangermann R (2011) The global polio eradication initiative: lessons learned and prospects for success. Vaccine 29 (Suppl 4): D80–D85.

Contact Editor close
Submit a note to the editor about this article by filling in the form below.

* Required Field

How to Cite close
Minor, Philip D(Oct 2015) Use of Vaccines to Eradicate Infectious Disease. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0026479]