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Why "chickenpox parties" is a horrible idea if it's not obvious



   A child with chicken pox.
Enlarge / A child with chicken pox.

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin made headlines Tuesday after revealing in a radio interview that he had purposefully exposed his nine unvaccinated children to chickenpox and quickly condemned health experts.

If anyone needs a refreshment why you should not deprive children of safe, potentially life-saving vaccines or deliberately expose them to serious, potentially life-threatening infections, here is a quick attack.

Chicken pox is nothing to blush with

Although most children who get itchy, highly contagious viral disease continue to recover after a week of misery, water sausages can cause serious complications and even death in some. Complications include unpleasant skin infections, pneumonia, encephalitis, bleeding, blood infections and dehydration.

If the infection strikes early in a pregnancy, there is a slight chance that it may cause birth defects, including abnormally formed limbs, brain, eyes, and skull, as well as intellectual disabilities. If it strikes just before birth, a newborn has a 30 percent chance of getting a serious form of disease that can be fatal.

In addition to newborns, people who are at increased risk of serious complications from water sausages, adolescents, adults, pregnant women and those with impaired immune systems, such as cancer patients in chemotherapy, are transplant patients and those with HIV / AIDS.

But even healthy children can develop complications. There is no way to pre-determine the severity of the infection.

And the fight is not over for chickenpox. Then there is shingles

The same virus that causes chickenpox causes shingles or zoster. After the pox falls, the virus, varicella-zoster virus (VZV), goes to sleep. It hides in dorsal root ganglia, which are nerves that transmit signals to the spinal cord. VZV can react at any time later in life to cause shingles, which usually manifest as an incredibly painful, sometimes itchy rash on the body's trunk.

Shingles is also nothing to row with as Ars & # 39; own managing editor Eric Bangeman can attest He struggled with the resurgence in the fall of 201

5 and described it as "several days of acute misery squeezed by a few weeks of to feel fragility. "

Shingles also have the potential to cause complications. The most common occurrence in about 13 percent of shingles is postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), which is persistent pain for weeks, months, or even years within rash after rash disappears. There is also the possibility that shingles can lead to bacterial superinfection on rash and eye problems that can lead to vision as well as inflammation of the brain or liver and nerve palsy.

Of course, almost all this can be avoided because …

There are vaccines for this

Vaccine vaccine aka varicella vaccine debuted in the United States in 1995. It is safe and very effective. Two doses of it are up to 98 percent effective in preventing all types of pox. In the rare cases where a vaccinated person still gets chickenpox, the disease is very mild. The vaccine is 100 percent effective in preventing serious forms of the disease.

In the years before the vaccine was available, on average, there were on average 4 million cases of water sausages each year in the United States. This resulted in an average of 10,500 to 13,000 admissions and 100-150 deaths each year, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. With the vaccine available, the number of water sausages in 31 monitored states dropped 79 percent between 2000 and 2010. Deaths from the disease fell 87 percent between four years before and after the vaccine arrived.

The vaccine contains a live but attenuated VZV, causing a latent infection. This can be reactivated later in life to cause shingles. However, in a recent study, babies who had been vaccinated with chickenpox had a 79 percent lower chance of getting shingles than those who had been given chickenpox.

There are also now two vaccines to prevent shingles in older adults. The presently preferred vaccine is the recombinant zoster vaccine Shingrix, which is more than 90 percent effective in preventing two-dose shingles.

This should make "poppy parties" obsolete, if not just dangerous

Previously, some parents may have thought it was a good idea to expose their children to chickenpox in order to make sure they got the disease before they were older when they are more likely to lead to complications. However, as mentioned earlier, chickenpox can be serious even in healthy children, and it is impossible to tell how serious each case will be. In addition, due to safe and effective vaccines, there is no reason to subordinate children to preventable infectious disease that even in mild cases, hundreds of agonizing itching blisters cause fever, malaise and headache.

But it's not just about your child

Vaccination protects vulnerable people, including those who cannot get vaccines due to medical conditions or those who are immune. Although the kids on the parties continue to have mild cases and completely recover – as was the case with Gov. Bevins children – the parties can keep the virus circulating.

Danger of letting chickenpox continue to spread to Italian politician Massimiliano Fedriga, who came down with the disease last week after the contradiction of legislation involving immunization in school children.

The prominent Italian microbiologist Roberto Burioni responded in a Facebook post and noted that the situation was unfortunate for the Fathers, but could have been more tragic if, for example, the virus was spread to a fetus or a child during a transplant.

"The only way we should avoid these tragedies (because they are tragedies) is to vaccinate all of us to prevent the circulation of this dangerous virus that could have hit a much more vulnerable person," he wrote.


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