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Chicken pox


Forum: Choosing to Vaccinate

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  #1  
June 8th, 2007, 07:23 AM
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Do I understand correctly that the chicken pox and shingles are in a sense the same virus? Does that mean that if you get the chicken pox you are immune to shingles? Also does that mean that if you get the vaccination you would be immune to the chicken pox and shingles? I think that if the vaccine does prevent shingles in the future I would like to get my Olivia vaccinated for it, but if it just protects against chicken pox I don't think I will. I had chicken pox and am still here to talk about it.
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  #2  
June 17th, 2007, 12:02 PM
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The shingles happens when the CP virus, herpes zoster, is re-awakened.

People used to have better immunity from shingles because of frequent exposure to the chicken pox virus, before the vaccine. They had CP themselves as a child, and they were exposed to the CP virus because it was something that circulated. They had to develop the shingles vaccine after the CP vax came out, because less CP is going around now.

Getting the chicken pox vax does NOT protect you from not getting CP at all. It MAY give you a lesser reaction, it MAY protect you from having a case of it. But MAY is the key word. It's not designed to give you pemanent, 100%, lifelong immunity. No vaccine is. They are designed to give you a less severe case if you come in contact with the disease.

Having the chicken pox does also not prevent you from having CP ever again, and does not prevent you from getting shingles. But having caught it naturally does give you somewhat better immunity, as it's something that's been studied far longer than the results of the vaccine on long-lived immunity. The vaccine hasn't been around as long as the chicken pox.
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  #3  
June 18th, 2007, 07:00 AM
Tofu Bacon
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^^ Ditto. When you've had the chicken pox naturally, for the rest of your life you get a natural "booster" everytime you come in contact with the virus again. Some people do have chronic shingle as adults, but now mass-vaccination for CP has helped cause the epidemiology of shingles to shift from the adult and elderly population to the pediatric population.
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  #4  
August 1st, 2007, 04:41 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: New Brunswick Canada
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Quote:
Do I understand correctly that the chicken pox and shingles are in a sense the same virus? Does that mean that if you get the chicken pox you are immune to shingles? Also does that mean that if you get the vaccination you would be immune to the chicken pox and shingles? I think that if the vaccine does prevent shingles in the future I would like to get my Olivia vaccinated for it, but if it just protects against chicken pox I don't think I will. I had chicken pox and am still here to talk about it.[/b]

If you have had chicken pox then you're at risk to get shingles.

This is a quote from wikipedia

Causes
Shingles can only arise in individuals who have had previous exposure to chicken pox (varicella zoster). Individuals develop shingles for many different reasons, most of which are thought to be a result of events which depress the immune system, such as aging, severe emotional stress, severe illness, immunosuppression or long-term use of corticosteroids.[5] However, the cellular and immunological events that lead to reactivation are poorly understood.[6] There have been recorded cases of outbreaks occurring due to unmanaged stress or other stresses to the skin such as pinching in more sensitive areas of the skin (nipples, ears, and underarms), scratching, or biting.[3]


So we are vacinating for chickenpox in the hopes that a child will not get it so that they're not at risk for shingles. Nothing is 100% so a child may still end up getting chickenpox.
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  #5  
August 1st, 2007, 09:49 AM
Tofu Bacon
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Actually, its way too soon to know what impact Varivax will have on shingles. Shingles effects about 1/1000 people who have had a natural chicken pox infection, and is most common in the 50 years and older crowd, particularly those with weaker immune systems. The theory is that vaccinated individuals many not get shingles as adults if they have had Varivax, which causes the body to have an asymptomatic or subclinical chicken pox infection from the attenuated live virus in the vaccine (as opposed to the contact with the wild virus which, causes an actual clinical case of chicken pox) and results in a relatively high level of immunity for most people. Whether its through the vaccine or an actual case of CP, the live varicella virus is still being introduced into the body, so the virus still has the potential to later "re-awaken" as shingles, either way. Whether is a lesser or greater chance, we simply don't know yet.

The vaccine has only been in wide-spread use for barely over a decade, so we won't truly know the impact until our kids reach adulthood. In other words: we can't measure the long-term effects of this vaccine on a primarily older adult population when the first cohorts are barely out of adolesence at this point.

Also, what makes it nearly impossible to measure the current impact of Varivax on shingles is the fact that shingles didn't become a reportable infection until 2000...5 years after Varivax was introduced. Since shingles wasn't reportable to the CDC, the figures we have up until 2000 are an educated guess at best; so its not like we can definitively say "Well, pre-vaccine we had X/100,000 cases of shingles reported each year, and since the vaccine we only have X/100,000 reported each year."

Its a good thing they've developed Zostavax (a shingles vaccine for adults) just in case their theory ends up being wrong, eh?
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