March 30, 2017
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Chickenpox (Varicella) (cont.)

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Can a vaccine prevent chickenpox?

The current aim in the U.S. and many other countries is to achieve universal (or nearly universal) immunization of children with the chickenpox vaccine. The vaccination requires only two shots and is very safe and effective. The first vaccination is given at about 1 year of age, and the second (booster) is given at 4 years of age. If an older person has not had chickenpox, the shot may be given at any time. There have been very few vaccine side effects. All children, except those with a compromised immune system, should have the vaccination. Varicella vaccine is the most commonly refused childhood vaccine; parents may still view chickenpox as the least severe vaccine-preventable disease. Prior to varicella vaccine licensure in 1995, however, there were 4 million cases of chickenpox infection annually, resulting in more than 10,000 hospitalizations and 100 deaths per year in the United States. Since licensure, universal immunization has reduced by 80% annual morbidity, mortality, and hospitalizations from chickenpox.

What is the prognosis of chickenpox?

The prognosis of uncomplicated chickenpox is generally good when acquired in childhood, and even in most adults, after the chickenpox rash goes away. Most people never experience chickenpox symptoms again after the first occurrence, and they are immune to other people's chickenpox. This is because the virus remains dormant in the nervous system; this also means that chickenpox can sometimes resurface later in life as shingles (zoster).

REFERENCES:

Marin, M., H.C. Meissner, and J.F. Seward. "Varicella Prevention in the United States: A Review of Successes and Challenges." Pediatrics 122.3 Sept. 1, 2008: e744-e751.

United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Chickenpox (Varicella)." <http://www.cdc.gov/chickenpox/index.html>.


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/8/2016

Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/chickenpox_varicella/article.htm

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