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November 4, 2011 | By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times / for the Booster Shots blog
This week, press reports emerged that some parents, hoping to avoid giving their kids the chickenpox vaccine, were arranging through Facebook to pay strangers to send them "[licked] lollipops, spit or other items" from kids with the illness. The idea is to expose the kids to the virus to build immunity without having to get a shot.   It's a lousy strategy, doctors say. Dr. Wilbert Mason, a professor of clinical pediatrics at USC's Keck School of Medicine and an infectious disease expert at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, said he was "dumbfounded" by the news.  "I'm speechless, which will make for a very bad interview," he told Booster Shots.  "How could people be so stupid?"
February 23, 2004 | Jane E. Allen
Because some children vaccinated against chickenpox eventually develop the disease, researchers at Yale University decided to test the immunization's effectiveness. They found that protection is strongest in the first year after the varicella vaccine is given -- with a 97% prevention rate -- but that the effectiveness drops to 86% in the second year and 81% in the seventh and eighth years.
A new experimental vaccine to prevent shingles, a painful rash common in elderly people, is to be tested in a five-year study that will recruit more than 37,000 older Americans. The study of the shingles vaccine, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, was launched in Bethesda, Md., last week when NIH pediatrician Philip A. Brunell, 68, an expert on the virus that causes the disease, became the first volunteer to receive an injection.
April 14, 2011 | By Marissa Cevallos, HealthKey
Chicken pox, characterized by an itchy red rash known for keeping kids home from school, isn’t confined to children — adults can get it too.  Just ask Lakers point guard Steve Blake. And, maybe in time, his teammates. Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum and Ron Artest have not had the disease. For Lakers fans, that’s not good news. Catching the highly contagious disease -- which is caused by the varicella-zoster virus -- is extremely possible if you missed the two recommended vaccines as a kid or never suffered through through the illness.
May 17, 2008 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday recommended that people 60 and older get Merck & Co.'s vaccine Zostavax to protect against shingles. The CDC said the recommendation replaces a provisional one it made in 2006 after the vaccine was approved by the Food and Drug Administration and recommended by a CDC advisory panel of immunization experts. Shingles is a viral infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the same one that causes chicken pox. There is no cure for shingles, which causes a painful, blistering rash.
September 7, 2005 | From Reuters
A new vaccine that combines four childhood immunizations has won approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Merck & Co. said Tuesday. The vaccine, called Proquad, is approved to protect children 12 months to 12 years of age against measles, mumps, rubella and chickenpox.
Free immunization clinics for children of all ages will be offered beginning Tuesday by the Los Angeles Unified School District. Immunizations include Haemophilus influenzae type B (HiB), diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis (DTaP), hepatitis A and B, polio and measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), in addition to the tuberculosis (TB) test.
December 17, 1993 | Associated Press
Chickenpox may become an illness of the past if a proposed vaccine is approved by the Food and Drug Administration and adopted as part of routine childhood inoculations. Chickenpox, known in medical circles as varicella, is a viral illness that generally lasts seven to 10 days. The illness commonly affects children under 10 years of age; its symptoms include a rash, fever and cough. In healthy children, chickenpox is generally mild.
April 23, 2007 | Shari Roan, Times Staff Writer
The chickenpox vaccine has not been a slam-dunk success. With some people, it hasn't scored any points at all. The varicella vaccine was introduced in the United States in 1995 as a single shot given to children ages 12 to 18 months, and by many accounts, the program has been effective. A generation of children has now been vaccinated against chickenpox, and cases of the disease have dropped by 85% since 1995. Deaths from severe cases of the disease fell from 124 in 1994 to 26 in 2001.
February 2, 1994 | From Associated Press
Vaccinating young children against chicken pox would save more than $5 for every $1 in costs, says a UC San Francisco report that anticipates federal approval of a vaccine soon. The findings are timely as the nation grapples with health reform and looks for ways to stretch limited dollars to cover spiraling health care costs, researchers said. A new vaccine under final review by the Food and Drug Administration could be approved by spring.
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