Study finds chickenpox cases down 85 percent since 2-dose varicella vaccine started
Chickenpox cases have declined considerably across United States ever since two doses of vaccine are given intermittently, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.
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An 85 percent drop has been observed in chickenpox cases since 2006. It was the time when one dose of vaccine failed to prevent outbreaks. So, 2-dose vaccination program was implemented to cut the risk of the contagious disease.
Caused by the varicella-zoster virus, Chickenpox is a highly infectious disease. The disease is characterized by itchy rashes all over the body which are accompanied by fever, headache and tiredness. The disease is usually mild but can be serious in infants and adults and can lead to serious skin infection, pneumonia, brain damage, or even death.
Chickenpox vaccine is an effective way to prevent chickenpox and two doses of the vaccine can reduce the risk of developing chickenpox up to 98%. First dose is given at age 12 to 15 months while kids get second dose when they are 4 to 6 years old.
Chickenpox used to be a very common disease in United States almost two decades ago. On average, 4 million Americans were getting the virus annually in early 1900s. Of those, more than 1000 were hospitalized and about 100 people died each year as a result of chickenpox.
To overcome the highly infectious disease, 1-dose varicella vaccination program was implemented in the United States in 1996 which resulted in dramatic decline in chickenpox morbidity and mortality. However, outbreaks of virus continue to be reported. So, doctors began routinely recommending a second dose of chickenpox vaccine.
The vaccination reportedly prevented more than 3.5 million cases of chickenpox, 9,000 hospitalizations, and 100 deaths each year. The biggest drop was seen in kids aged 5 to 14, which is also the age group most likely to receive the second dose of varicella vaccine.
“Previous reports have documented significant declines in varicella incidence in the United States since the varicella vaccination program was implemented in 1996 through the early years of the 2-dose program,” Report says.
“NNDSS data documented an 85% decline in varicella incidence from the 2-year period 2005- 2006 through 2013-14 and a 97% decline since the varicella vaccination program was implemented.”
Most people who get chickenpox vaccine will not get the virus. If someone still get the disease, it will be very mild and will result in less skin blisters.