In Brief


Child deaths related to environment

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 ( 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 (

Vaccination danger

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.