What chickenpox is, what risks it can cause and all useful information on the vaccine
What is chickenpox
Chickenpox is a rash disease caused by the virus varicella-zoster. It is transmitted orally or by contact with the vesicles of a sick person. It is generally one benign disease, although it can be very annoying especially in the little ones.
Despite this it can provoke pneumonia in 23 cases out of 10,000 infections, brain damage in one case out of 10 thousand as well as bacterial superinfections of skin lesions that can leave permanent scars. In rare cases, the disease causes thrombocytopenia (deficiency of a clotting factor) and inflammation of the cerebellum which can lead to impaired motor coordination (cerebellar ataxia). Infants and people with immune system deficiencies are most at risk of serious complications.
Vaccination against chickenpox
The chickenpox vaccine has been available since 1995. It consists of live attenuated viruses. It is marketed both in isolated wording is combined in the so-called quadrivalent vaccine (measles, mumps, rubella and chicken pox). Vaccination covers 95% (i.e. in 5% of the vaccinated the contagion occurs equally).
Vaccination provides two doses, to be administered at 13-15 months of life and at 6 years.
Since 2017 chickenpox vaccine is one of them required by law.
The vaccine is also recommended for adults who have not contracted the disease but are working in high-risk environments, such as schools or hospitals. It is also suitable for women of childbearing age who are not already immune, as an infection in pregnancy can cause harm to the fetus.
It is typically a vaccine well tolerated. It can give local reactions at the injection site (treatable with cold packs and paracetamol). In some very rare cases it can cause febrile seizures.
Sources: The information on the efficacy and indications of vaccines, and the epidemiological data contained in the information sheets on individual vaccines are based on official documents of the Higher Institute of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta (USA)
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Updated on 09.04.2018