Chicken Pox

Chicken pox is caused by the varicella virus.  Incubation period is 14-16 days after exposure.  Lesions tend to erupt in crops, arms and legs first, and then spread to trunk.  The majority are crusted by the 6th day and the outbreak is over in less than 2 weeks.

Chicken pox is a self-limiting mild infection in most with rare complications.  Treatment is supportive for symptoms only.

Several problems exist with the chicken pox vaccine.  First of all, it is unknown how long protection can last with the vaccine, as the estimation of the duration of antibodies is only known to last up to 10 years. (See Product Insert below)

Therefore this will leave the population of people who are most susceptible to severe complications from the chicken pox most vulnerable.  Risk for hospitalization of adults who acquire chicken pox is 10-20 times greater than in children.  The risk of severe or fatal disease increases from 0.7/100,000 in children to 25/100,000 in adults.
                                                                     MMWR July, 12, 1996/45 (RR11)

Another problem that arises from the chicken pox vaccine is the incidence of developing shingles within 10 years after vaccination has been reported to be 18 in 100,000 or nearly 1 in 5,000. 
 MMWR July, 12, 1996/45 (RR11); and Product Insert

Perhaps the most troubling aspect of the chicken pox vaccine is the tremendous increase in the cases of shingles it has caused in the adult population since it has been introduced in mass vaccination.

After a child has naturally had the chicken pox, the virus becomes dormant.  It can reactivate later in adulthood in a closely related disease called shingles, both caused by the same varicella-zoster virus.  In order to maintain life-time immunity, adults must be exposed to the wild virus approximately every ten years.  Since the vaccine has decreased the circulation of the varicella virus, natural immunity in adults is expected to wane.

In fact, since the introduction of the chicken pox vaccine, hospitalization costs for complications of shingles have increased by more than $700 million annually for those over 60 years old.

Of course, the CDC has a solution for this problem – the shingles vaccine.  However, in a research article published in the International Journal of Toxicology, Gary S. Goldman states “Using a shingles vaccine to control shingles epidemics in adults would likely fail because adult vaccination programs have rarely proved successful.” Goldman continued “There appears to be no way to avoid a mass epidemic of shingles lasting as long as several generations among adults.”

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