Study Warns Parents That Chickenpox Is Still A Threat To Pregnant Women, Infants

chicken poxParents who think chickenpox is extinct take heed: Unvaccinated children are still catching the itchy, scabby disease, according to a small but first-of-its kind study. The study, published today in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, offers a counterargument to parents who think vaccines for waning and seemingly innocuous diseases like chickenpox don’t matter. Even though the illness has become less prevalent since a vaccine was introduced in 1995, chickenpox still can be serious and even deadly for pregnant women, infants and people with weak immune systems, according to the study. Parents who refuse the chickenpox, or varicella, vaccine help perpetuate the disease.

“The vaccine against varicella … is the most commonly refused childhood vaccine,” according to the study by researchers at Kaiser Permanente’s Institute for Health Research in Denver. The study was led by Jason Glanz of the Colorado School of Public Health. “As vaccine refusal increases in the United States, health care providers are in a uniquely trusted position to influence immunization behavior.”

The study focused on 133 children enrolled in the Kaiser Permanente health plan who developed chickenpox between 1998 and 2008. Seven children who did not get the vaccine because of parental refusal became ill.

Compared with a control group of 493 children who received the vaccine, “children of vaccine-refusing parents had a nine-fold increase of varicella illness,” according to the study.

Since 2004, New Jersey has mandated chickenpox vaccine for children 12 months and older attending day care as well as public and private schools. The state allows exceptions for medical as well as religious reasons, although proof of religion is not required.

“We take them at their word,” according to state epidemiologist Tina Tan. The immunization rate for all illnesses among New Jersey’s children is high — about 95 percent to 96 percent for the past two years, Tan said.

Barbara Flynn of Summit, a parent and founder of the anti-vaccine group, CHERUBS, Children Having Everybody Really Upset ’Bout Shots, said she has helped many families seek exemptions, primarily because their children have chronic illnesses.

Flynn said she opposes a chickenpox vaccine mandate, particularly because there can be serious side effects from the it.

“I grew up in the ’50s and everybody got the chickenpox,” Flynn said. “We have huge disease epidemics we didn’t have then.”

For most people, chickenpox is a minor illness.

There were 426 reports of chickenpox in New Jersey between April and December 2009, the first year the illness was required to be reported, Tan said.

Meg Fisher, medical director for the Children’s Hospital at Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, said the figure could be artificially low because many physicians may not know they are supposed to report the illness. Star Ledger.

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7 COMMENTS

  1. Those parents who don’t believe in giving vaccinations can keep their kids at home. If they want to abuse their children because of some ignorant beliefs, that’s already bad enough, but we can’t tell them what to do. We can tell them however to keep their kids away from everybody else. Although the mumps vaccination is far from foolproof, it seems that the current epidemic in our community began with a child who wasn’t vaccinated. The unvaccinated people are increasing the percentage of everyone else coming down with these diseases. How irresponsible and how ignorant.
    Unfortunately, the schools are not doing their part, by allowing unvaccinated children into the schools where they are putting other student in danger, as shown in this article.

  2. How ridiculous! Can you tell me who that unvaccinated child was who “it seems” started the current epidemic of mumps? I don’t think anyone can say who “started” the epidemic. I personally know three vaccinated people who got the mumps. If they were vaccinated, but still were not immune, and were able to catch it, it means they could have started it as well. So if anything, the mumps epidemic proves that the risks involved in injecting toxins into our children may not be worth the gain!

  3. I believe that people who suffer complications from usually mild childhood diseases probably have weaker immune sysytems. If everyone would boost their immune systems with proper nutrition, then maybe shots wouldn’t be needed at all. Kids would get sick and get better and that’s all. My kids all had chicken pox very very mildly (years ago, before the vaccine) and rarely got sicker than a cold. I always made sure to give them vitamin C, especially when things were going around and made them wash their hands with soap before eating. I don’t think too highly of shots myself and think they are putting foreign substances in our children’s bodies, which may be doing more harm than good. Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, though, and this is mine.

  4. I believe that people who suffer complications from usually mild childhood diseases probably have weaker immune systems. If everyone would boost their immune systems with proper nutrition, then maybe shots wouldn’t be needed at all. Kids would get sick and get better and that’s all. My kids all had chicken pox very very mildly (years ago, before the vaccine) and rarely got sicker than a cold. I always made sure to give them vitamin C, especially when things were going around and made them wash their hands with soap before eating. I don’t think too highly of shots myself and think they are putting foreign substances in our children’s bodies, which may be doing more harm than good. Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, though, and this is mine.

  5. Vaccinations are as controversial as politics these days. I for one am totally anti-vaccination but the difference between me and most of the people who are pro-vaccination is that I have spent many years looking at both sides of this issue before I made a decision. Most people just trust what the doctor tells them and never even look at all the documented research that is easily available these days. For those of you who would like to read up on some of this you can go to Garynull.com and find plenty of facts that you were never told by you know who.
    I have been servicing the Lakewood community for over 20 years and I find the overall health steadily declining, especially the children. I believe the key to health is to have a healthy immune system. I believe one of the main reasons for the decline in health is that our children are being over vaccinated and over medicated. The antibiotic abuse by some of our pediatricians is unbelievable. These poor children’s immune systems are so suppressed that they end up with all sorts of allergies and illnesses. Some of the other causes are pollutants in the air,water and food and household chemicals. There are just too many toxins in our environment and our immune systems are breaking down.
    PLEASE people take a good look at what you’re allowing to go into your childrens body’s because next to Faith our health is the most important thing we have.

  6. Why the frum community in E”Y and now in th U.S.A. is falling for every new fad in the world such as reflexology, graphology, anti vaccination, segulos, etc. is beyond me. Our nation is supposed to be intelligent! But when I hear some of the baloney being accepted nowadays I begin to wonder.
    I agree that children do not need all the antibiotics they get. The medical community also knows this. I agree that we see scientifically that this suppresses the immune system. However, anti vaccination is not approved or proven by science and is harming us all. My son is in a N.Y. Mesivta where there were many cases of mumps, brought to the Yeshiva by a bochur whose mother doesn’t have her children vaccinated and never takes them to doctors. Hey, Mom, you’re entitled to your opinions, but don’t send your son to Yeshiva!

  7. hey golus yid! Don’t call reflexology and other alternative therapies “baloney”. There is actual science to support reflexology and some other complementary/alternative therapies. These modalities are being used more and more in concert with medical therapy at leading medical institutions around the world. Even the NIH is spending research dollars to document the healing benefits of these modalities. Do I think that there are some out there who misuse/abuse natural health care modalities? Unfortunately, yes. In my own reflexology/natural healing practice, I often have to advise clients to seek medical advice. Many are reluctant to do so, preferring to use natural medicine alone. This is not always prudent and I have to educate clients as to the implications of eschewing medical care. Seeking medical advice/intervention in addition to natural healing is oftentimes the most responsible course of action that professionals in this field recommend. Hardly baloney!! Practitioners cannot help it that the oilam is goilam and some reject best advice/practices. I cannot speak about segulos as I am not a Rav, and I cannot speak about graphology as I am not a graphologist. But I do know that reflexology and the like is NOT baloney. Antivaccination is a whole ‘nother subject, something I have studied in depth and detail for many years. Once again, I would not disparage these views with a dismissive “not approved or proven by science” until you study the scientific documentation on this! You may not agree, but you can disagree without being disagreeable.

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