More than one in four deaths of children aged under 5 years can be attributed to unhealthy environments, according to a new WHO report, Inheriting a Sustainable World: Atlas on Children’s Health and the Environment (www.who.int/ceh/publications/inheriting-a-sustainable-world). Annually, this translates to the deaths of 1.7 million children worldwide caused by often preventable factors such as indoor and outdoor air pollution, second-hand smoke, unsafe water, poor sanitation and inadequate hygiene. Findings in a companion report reveal that every year among children aged under 5 years, 570,000 die from respiratory infections attributable to pollution or second-hand smoke and 361,000 die with diarrhoea from lack of clean water, sanitation or hygiene. Don’t Pollute my Future! The Impact of the Environment on Children’s Health is available online (who.int/ceh/publications/don-t-pollute-my-future).
In Australia, a death has been reported in a person with pre-existing compromised immune function after receiving Zostavax, a live, attenuated varicella– zoster virus vaccine. The TGA is advising healthcare professionals to consider immunological status before vaccination and to refer patients for specialist advice if unsure.