The current status of live attenuated varicella vaccine

  • A. A. Gershon


This manuscript reviews the means by which live attenuated varicella vaccine offers protection against varicella and zoster. It is accepted that although varicella is usually a mild illness, complications leading to morbidity and mortality are significant and the disease is worth preventing. The vaccine offers close to 100% protection from severe chickenpox and 90% protection from illness. Waning of immunity after vaccination, particularly in children, has not been a significant problem. Ways in which vaccination may decrease the incidence and severity of zoster include the following. Vaccine virus may be less likely to establish latency and to be able to reactivate than wild type virus. In addition, by selective immunization of certain hosts such as HIV-infected children whose immune systems are still relatively intact and individuals with latency due to wild type virus to boost the cell-mediated immune response to the virus, zoster may be decreased. Varicella vaccine is predicted to have a major impact on the epidemiology of varicella and zoster in countries with high vaccine uptake.


Herpes Zoster Varicella Zoster Virus Wild Type Virus Varicella Vaccine Adult Vaccinee 
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© Springer-Verlag Wien 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. A. Gershon
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PediatricsColumbia University College of Physicians & SurgeonsUSA

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