In March, U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials licensed a live, attenuated varicella vaccine for healthy children and adults who have not had chickenpox. The AAP policy statement, "Recommendations for the Use of Live Attenuated Varicella Vaccine," appeared in the May issue of Pediatrics. AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases member Steve Kohl, M.D., offers the following responses to pediatricians' questions about the vaccine.
The letter from Dr. Barry expresses some of the controversy that the Committee on Infectious Diseases had to reconcile in determining the role of acyclovir for the therapy of varicella in the otherwise healthy child. We indeed acknowledged the proven benefit of acyclovir therapy regarding a day less of fever and a decrease in the number of skin lesions in children treated within 24 hours of onset.