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'Extend new jab to boys'.

THE Government should extend its planned cervical cancer vaccination programme to teenage boys, says an infectious diseases expert.

Dr Paul Yeo said that although the vaccination programme is a welcome step in reducing deaths, by not vaccinating boys the Government risks leaving a "pool of infected individuals".

Dr Yeo says they could spread the virus to women later in life when the effect of the vaccination has potentially worn off.

He also suggests the cost might have been a factor in the Government selecting the current vaccine over another, which also protects against other harmful strains of human papillomaviruses (HPVs), rather than just two strains.

The development of 70% of all cervical cancers can be linked to infection by human papillomaviruses.

From September, girls aged 12 and 13 in the UK will be vaccinated against certain strains of HPV with a catch-up campaign for girls aged up to 18 starting in autumn 2009.

Dr Yeo, who specialises in virology and infectious diseases, said: "I would question why boys are not included in this vaccination programme as it is, after all, a sexually-transmitted disease which can lead to the cancer."
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Aug 30, 2008
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