Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Varicella-related deaths in US children plummet thanks to vaccine

Dr Lynch recently found this article and wanted to share it with you.
The use of the varicella (chickenpox) vaccine in the U.S. since 1995 has reduced the death rate from this disease by 97 percent among children and adolescents, according to an analysis of data from the National Center for Health Statistics from 1990-2007.  Because deaths from varicella are relatively few, the major benefit of the vaccine is considered to be the reduction in lost work and medical care associated with cases and severe complications. Varicella deaths are a powerful reminder of the importance of vaccines for prevention. For most of the time period since 1995, a one-dose vaccine was used for children. Since 2006, a two-dose regimen has been recommended. This could possibly eliminate deaths altogether in this age group from the disease in the future. The full article can be read in th August 2011 issue of Pediatrics called  , “Near Elimination of Varicella Deaths in the US Following Implementation of the Childhood Vaccination Program."

Here is some basic information about the Chicken Pox vaccine and why it is important.

Why get vaccinated?

Chickenpox (also called varicella) is a common childhood disease. It is usually mild, but it can be serious, especially in young infants and adults.
  • It causes a rash, itching, fever, and tiredness.
  • It can lead to severe skin infection, scars, pneumonia, brain damage, or death.
  • The chickenpox virus can be spread from person to person through the air, or by contact with fluid from chickenpox blisters.
  • A person who has had chickenpox can get a painful rash called shingles years later.
  • Before the vaccine, about 11,000 people were hospitalized for chickenpox each year in the United States.
  • Before the vaccine, about 100 people died each year as a result of chickenpox in the United States.
Chickenpox vaccine can prevent chickenpox.
Most people who get chickenpox vaccine will not get chickenpox. But if someone who has been vaccinated does get chickenpox, it is usually very mild. They will have fewer blisters, are less likely to have a fever, and will recover faster.

Who should get chickenpox vaccine and when?

Children who have never had chickenpox should get 2 doses of chickenpox vaccine at these ages:
  • 1st Dose: 12-15 months of age
  • 2nd Dose: 4-6 years of age (may be given earlier, if at least 3 months after the 1st dose) 
To read more about the chicken pox vaccine please click HERE for the full article.
**info from http://www.aapnews.org/, http://www.healthychildren.org/ and http://www.cdc.gov/

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