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Archive for Thursday, August 18, 2005

Vaccine brings sharp drop in chickenpox

August 18, 2005

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— The start of infant chickenpox vaccinations a decade ago has led to an 88 percent decline in hospitalizations and a 59 percent drop in doctor's visits associated with the disease, according to a study published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Assn.

Death rates from the disease have dropped from about 150 deaths a year before the immunization program to an average of 66 per year, according to recent statistics.

The study, conducted by researchers at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that the decreased number of chickenpox-related hospital visits had resulted in a savings of $63 million a year in medical expenses.

But the CDC estimates that the cost of vaccinating 4 million children a year is about $144 million.

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