A new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows major declines in varicella deaths following implementation of the U.S. varicella vaccination program in 1995 (Pediatrics. 2011;128:214-220; http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/128/2/214.full).

Before the varicella vaccine was routinely recommended in the United States, about 4 million people would get varicella each year, about 10,600 people were hospitalized, and 100-150 died as a result of the disease.

The CDC assessed the impact of the U.S. varicella vaccination program (1995 to 2007) by updating previous analyses of varicella deaths, with a focus on the most recent data on varicella deaths from 2002 to 2007. Since the program started, deaths from varicella have declined dramatically in all age groups. From 2005 to 2007, compared with 1990 to 1994 (pre-vaccine), there was a 97% reduction in varicella deaths in children and adolescents younger than 20 years, followed by a 90% decline among...

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