Europe

Laura Brennan: Irish HPV vaccine campaigner dies aged 26

Laura Brennan Image copyright RTE
Image caption Uptake of the vaccine increased from 51% in 2017 - when Ms Brennan first contacted the organisation - to 70% in 2019

One of Ireland's leading HPV vaccine campaigners has died.

Laura Brennan, from Hillview in County Clare, had cervical cancer. She died at University Hospital Limerick on Thursday, according to Ireland's Health Service Executive (HSE).

The organisation said the 26 year old's campaigning led to a surge of almost 20% in the number of young women taking the HPV vaccine.

Her family said she was "a light in the life of everyone who knew her".

They said they were proud of the work Ms Brennan did in the last 18 months to help protect other young women from cervical cancer.

Uptake of the vaccine increased from 51% in 2017 - when Ms Brennan first contacted the organisation - to 70% in 2019.


What is the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)?

•HPV is the name given to a common group of viruses; there are more than 100 types of HPV

•Many women will be with infected with HPV over the course of their lifetime without any ill-effect

•In the vast majority of cases, there will be no symptoms and the infection will clear on its own, but in some cases persistent infection can lead to cervical disease

•Some types of HPV are high risk because they are linked to the development of some cancers

•Other lower risk HPV types can lead to genital warts

•Nearly all cervical cancers (99.7%) are caused by infection from a high risk HPV

•The HPV vaccine protects against four types of HPV which cause around 80% of cervical cancer and the vast majority of genital warts

Source: NHS Choices


Minister for Health Simon Harris also paid tribute to Ms Brennan.

"The State owes her a debt of gratitude," he said.

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