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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Chickenpox Down 80 Percent Since 2000

Signaling the retreat of a childhood rite of passage, the incidence of chickenpox in the United States fell by 80 percent from 2000 to 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported last week.
The decline results from widespread use of the chickenpox vaccine, researchers said.

From 2000 to 2005, a period when a single dose of vaccine was recommended for children 12 to 18 months old and for older unvaccinated children, cases fell by 43 percent. The decline steepened once a second dose was recommended in 2006, with incidence falling 72 percent in the second half of the decade.

Chickenpox cases decreased most in children ages 1 through 9, who were most likely to get the vaccine, according to the C.D.C. After 2006, chickenpox decreased especially prominently in children ages 5 through 9, the group most likely to have gotten a second dose during that period.

The C.D.C. previously reported significant decreases in chickenpox from 1995 to 2000, with incidence falling by 70 to 85 percent in three communities selected for surveillance.

Adriana Lopez, a C.D.C. epidemiologist and a contributor to the report, said she was encouraged that chickenpox, also called varicella, continues to decline.

“Based on this study, we’ve seen that the varicella vaccination program, including the second dose, is working to decrease disease,” she said.
By KATE YANDELL.  Kate Yandell blogs at the NY Times Well Blog. A version of this article appeared in print on 08/21/2012, on page D6 of the NewYork edition with the headline: Vital Signs | Prevention: Chickenpox Down 80 Percent Since 2000.

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