Optimism is growing that a new HPV vaccine will drastically decrease the number of cases of pediatric recurrent respiratory papillomatosis (RRP), a rare but devastating disease.
Explore this issue:July 2010
Regulators have proclaimed the vaccine safe, but experts on the disease and the vaccine say that more widespread use is needed to wipe out the disease. In addition, experts say, the medical culture in the U.S., traditionally hesitant with regard to adolescent vaccinations that are not mandated, might be a stumbling block.
RRP afflicts about four of every 100,000 children. Interferon and other drugs help to slow the spread of the lesions, but patients usually have to undergo multiple surgeries, sometimes dozens, to remove the lesions.