Posted Monday, July 25, 2011 --- 7:25 a.m.
ATLANTA (AP) -- A new government study says deaths from the chickenpox have been dramatically reduced, thanks to the vaccine for the disease. And researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the drop has been most significant among children.
The study found that chickenpox deaths fell from an average of 105 per year to 14, after the vaccine had been available for 12 years.
Study co-author Jane Seward of the CDC says, "To see the near elimination of chickenpox deaths in this country is very exciting."
Chickenpox is caused by a virus and is highly contagious. Most kids suffer no more than an itchy skin rash and a fever, but symptoms can be serious.
Severe cases are more common among adolescents and adults who get it for the first time. Also, the virus can reactivate in people later in life and cause a painful illness called shingles.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.