By Ed Silverman // July 8th, 2010 // 7:20 am
As Merck looks to extend the market for its Gardasil HPV vaccine to older women (back story), a new study finds the human papillomavirus shows up in young children whose airways may become infected while in the womb or during childbirth. As a result, children can develop wart-like lesions of the nose, pharynx, trachea and bronchi, a problem known as juvenile onset recurrent respiratory papillomatosis, or JoRRP, which can interfere with breathing and require surgical removal.
The study, which was published online in The Laryngoscope (subscription required), found that between 1994 and 2007, the overall incidence rate of JoRRP in children aged 14 and younger was only 0.24 cases per 100,000, or 243 reported cases (the prevalence rate was 1.11 per 100,000). And these required 3,021 surgical procedures. The median age at time of diagnosis was 4.4 years, and children with JoRRP underwent a median of seven surgical procedures.
“While the overall incidence of JoRRP is low, the implication for the afflicted children is significant and knowing the scope of the problem is critical,” says Paolo Campisi, associate professor in the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine’s Department of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery and staff otolaryngologist and project investigator at SickKids Sickkids. in a statement. “Widespread vaccination against HPV within the female population may affect the incidence of JoRRP and spare children from the harsh consequences of the disease.”