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Chicken pox vaccination should be introduced for children in the UK
Date:11/9/2007

ived the vaccine.

An accompanying editorial in the journal comments: "Chickenpox has traditionally been viewed as an irritating but inevitable infection to be endured during childhood, a rite of passage during the preschool years."

"This benign view persists despite evidence that certain groups, including neonates, adults, pregnant women, and the immunocompromised have higher risks of severe disease," it continues.

The authors point out that new cases of chickenpox have been rising among pre-school children, and for every 1000 cases, between two and five children will have to be admitted to hospital.

The simplest strategy would be to switch from the triple MMR vaccine to one that also included immunity against chickenpox (varicella), using the recently licensed MMRV jab, say the authors. But unfounded fears about MMR are likely make this difficult to implement at present. But varicella vaccine could be offered to all teenagers who have not yet been infected.

"This could prevent cases of severe disease in adults and pregnant women and raise public awareness of the potential and desirability of primary prevention," they conclude.


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Contact: Emma Dickinson
edickinson@bmj.com
44-020-738-36529
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Source:Eurekalert

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