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Vaccine Preventable Diseases

Strategic Objectives

  • To study the incidence, prevalence and impact of vaccine-preventable infections and the relationship with epidemiological variables: seasonality, distribution according to sex, age groups, clinical expression, need for hospitalisation or lethality.
  • Phenotypic and genotypic characterisation of the detected strains of bacteria and virus causing vaccine-preventable diseases.
  • Infection caused by Rotavirus and Norovirus: impact in the child population of the Basque Country. Circulating genotypes, genetic drift, analysis of recombinations, relationship with vaccine strains. Assessment of new rotavirus vaccines.
  • Neisseria meningitidis: phenotypes and genotypes of the invasive meningococcal strains and of the isolated strains in asymptomatic carriers. Identification of new circulating clones, including emerging virulent clones.
  • Evaluation of the utility of vaccines, both current and under development.
  • Study of the prevalence and impact of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases.

Main lines of research

  • Rotavirus: impact in the child population of the Basque Country. Assessment of new anti-rotavirus vaccines.
    • Study of the incidence of infection (by sex or age), seasonality, distribution by age groups, clinical expression and relationship with the type of rotavirus, etc.
    • Evaluation of the impact in the child population by way of the incidence of hospitalisation, the need for paediatric Intensive Care Units support and mortality.
    • Molecular characterisation of the strains of rotavirus that are circulating among the population, the succession of genotypes in rotavirus epidemics, genetic drift, analysis of recombinations, relationship with vaccine strains, etc.
  • Invasive meningococcal disease. Impact of vaccination with conjugate vaccine. Utility of new vaccines
    • Study of the strains causing invasive meningococcal disease and the isolated strains in the pharynx of asymptomatic carriers. To phenotypically and genotypically typify the isolations in order to identify the clones causing meningococcal disease in our environment and their relationship with currently available vaccines.
    • Assessment of the epidemiological impact of vaccination with conjugate vaccine and the ecological impact on invasive strains and saprophyte strains. We will particularly research the appearance of capsular exchange phenomena among strains of different serogroups and their possible relationship with the polysaccharide conjugate vaccine against meningococcus C.
    • Assessment of the differences between the protection given by the polysaccharide conjugate vaccine against meningococcus C when administered on its own, and the protection given by this vaccine when administered at the same time as other new vaccines such as the heptavalent pneumococcal conjugate.
    • Study of the genosubtypes of the meningococcus circulating in our region in order to assess the utility of a vaccine prepared with external membrane proteins.
  • Prevention of cervical cancer and Chlamydia infections: selection of the most suitable screening methods, the prevalence of persistent infections caused by papillomavirus and the causal genotypes.
    • Study of the prevalence of persistent infections caused by HPV in women over the age of 35 in our environment.
    • To study the distribution of HPV genotypes in our environment, to find out the importance of the genotypes with the greatest oncogenic power such as HPV-16 and HPV-18 (among others), compared with the existing vaccines that are already applicable to humans.
    • To evaluate the role of molecular methods (PCR or array) to detect HPV in the context of the screening programmes for the prevention of cervical cancer.
    • To analyse the cost-efficiency ratio of the different diagnostic screening strategies.
    • To analyse the repercussions of vaccines against HPV in the circulation of different HPV genotypes.
    • To discover the prevalence of Chlamydia infections in the female population of reproductive age in our environment, and to evaluate the opportunity of implementing different population screening strategies
    • To discover the circulating genotypes of Chlamydia.
  • Surveillance of other emerging and re-emerging diseases and the assessment of recently established vaccination programmes.
    • To maintain the epidemiological and microbiological surveillance of vaccine-preventable diseases.
    • To incorporate new surveillance systems related to molecular methods of detection and typification of pathogens.
    • To keep watch over the appearance of, and characterise, the microorganisms causing significant epidemics in Public Health.