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Chickenpox vaccine cuts disease spread

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CHICAGO, Aug 10, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- U.S. children and adolescents who receive chickenpox vaccine and then contract the disease are about half as contagious as those not vaccinated

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that among children and adolescents aged 1 to 14 years, secondary attack rates of chickenpox -- also known as varicella -- varied according to age and by disease and vaccination status of the primary case and exposed household contacts.

"Among contacts aged 1 to 14 years exposed to unvaccinated cases, the secondary attack rate was 71.5 percent if they were unvaccinated and 15.1 percent if they were vaccinated," said study leader Jane Seward of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in Atlanta.

Added Seward: "Overall, vaccinated cases were half as contagious as unvaccinated cases. However, vaccinated cases with 50 lesions or more were similarly contagious as unvaccinated cases, whereas those with fewer than 50 lesions were only one-third as contagious."

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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