US Scratches Out Scourge of Chickenpox

Vaccine has almost eradicated itchy childhood disease
By Michael Foreman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 2, 2008 7:20 PM CDT
US Scratches Out Scourge of Chickenpox
Chickenpox is now so rare that doctors have difficulty diagnosing it.   (Flickr)

Thirteen years after the introduction of a vaccine, chickenpox has virtually disappeared among American children. The virus that causes the itchy disease is now so rare that parents and physicians alike have difficulty recognizing it, the Chicago Tribune reports. New research reveals a 75% drop in pox-related hospitalizations over the last decade and as few as 15 estimated deaths per year.

Despite the vaccine's success rate, some parents choose not to immunize their children. "It's almost like we're doing this just to avoid having them getting itchy for a week," said one parent. "If they don't have to have the vaccine, I'd rather they not have it." But doctors warn chickenpox can still lead to serious complications, including skin infections and pneumonia. (More chickenpox stories.)

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