The 15-year-old's death demonstrates the importance of routine chickenpox vaccination, as well as catch-up vaccination of older children and teens to prevent chickenpox and its complications later in life when the disease may be more severe, the authors added.
Before chickenpox vaccination was included in routine childhood immunization, the disease caused about 11,000 hospitalizations and 100 to 150 deaths in the United States each year. The two dose-vaccine has led to declines of more than 95 percent in chickenpox-related illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths among people who have received routine vaccinations.
The CDC recommends children get the first dose of chickenpox vaccine at age 12 to 15 months and the second dose at age 4 to 6 years. Children, teens and adults who have not had a second dose -- and have not had chickenpox -- should get the catch-up vaccine.
Experts say adult vaccination is critical.
"The varicella vaccine is especially important for healthcare professionals, child care workers, teachers, residents and staff in nursing homes and people who care for or are around others with weakened immune systems," said Dr. Roya Samuels, a pediatrician at Cohen Children's Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about chickenpox.
-- Robert Preidt
SOURCE: Kenneth Bromberg, M.D., F.A.A.P., F.I.D.S., director, Vaccine Research Center, and chairman, pediatrics, the Brooklyn Hospital Center, New York City; Roya Samuels, M.D., pediatrician, Cohen Children's Medical Center, New Hyde Park, N.Y.; U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, news release, April 11, 2013
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