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J Infect Dis. 2008 Mar 1;197 Suppl 2:S120-6. doi: 10.1086/522146.

Epidemiology of varicella hospitalizations in the United States, 1995-2005.

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  • 1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia 30333, USA.


To describe the impact of the varicella vaccination program on varicella-related hospitalizations (VRHs) in the United States, data from the Varicella Active Surveillance Project (VASP) were used to compare rates of hospitalization and rates of complications among patients hospitalized for varicella-related conditions from 1995 to 2005. Of the 26,290 varicella cases reported between 1995 and 2005, 170 cases resulted in VRHs, including 1 case that resulted in death. Both VRH rates per 100,000 population and complications during VRH per 100,000 population decreased significantly between the early vaccination period (1995-1998) and the middle/late vaccination period (1999-2005). Infants and adults were at highest risk for VRH, and having been vaccinated against varicella was a protective factor. Varicella vaccination may have prevented a significant number of VRHs. The fact that 4 vaccinated children required hospitalization for varicella-related complications demonstrates that 1 dose of varicella vaccine does not prevent serious disease in all cases, even among previously healthy children.

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