Chickenpox is caused by the Varicella-Zoster virus. It is spread either by droplet infection or contact with the spots of a person with chicken pox. The incubation period is 2 – 3 weeks. During this time the virus replicates in the lymph nodes, liver, spleen, and a second viraemia occurs just before the rash appears. The infectious period starts one day before the rash appears and continues until the pox spots scab over.
Before the rash appears, the person may have a slight temperature, no appetite, feel tired, and have photophobia. The rash typically appears on the body and then spreads to the arms, legs, face and scalp. The rash can occur in the mouth. In girls, the rash can occur in the vagina area and cause discomfort. The rash is pimple-like at first, but turns into blisters. After a few days, they scab over. The scabs will then fall off, and should leave little or no scarring.
Complications which are rare could be:
Pneumonia – usual cause in adults is Staphylococcus Aureas
Bacterial super infection and encephalitis (rare in children)
Reye’s syndrome, mainly associated with the use of aspirin to control fever and pain
More Severe Rare Complications:
Osteomyelitis, necrotising fasciitis, toxic shock syndrome, Guillain-Barré Syndrome, carditis, uveitis, myocarditis, bullous varicella, septic arthritis, deep tissue abscess, Group A beta-haemolytic streptococcus, nephritis, orchitis, thrombocytopenia, fulminant hepatitis, acute cerebellar ataxia, chorioretinitis, ocular defects, cutaneous scars, hypoplastic limbs, micrognathia, encephalomyelitis, cortical atrophy, and pneumonitis.
After you have had chickenpox, the virus can lay dormant for decades until the immune system is suppressed, and then the virus can re-appear. It can reappear as chicken-pox again or as shingles. Shingles appears as large blisters, like welts, on one side of the body. They can appear on the stomach, back, chest, or even on one side of the face. Shingles can be accompanied by photophobia (sensitivity to light), tiredness, and severe itchiness or sting-like pain.
The vaccine was originally developed for immune compromised leukemic children. The live varicella zoster vaccine for chicken pox had difficulty getting FDA approval for many years because of its high failure rate which was often as high as 20 percent. The varicella vaccine was licensed by the FDA in 1995, and Universal Varicella Vaccination Program was implemented shortly thereafter. The CDC recommended that all healthy, susceptible children aged 12 months to 12 years receive a single dose. The CDC then funded a Varicella Active Surveillance Project (VASP) to monitor trends in the disease. The three different areas were: Antelope Valley (California), West Philadelphia (Pennsylvania), and Travis County (Texas). By 1999, each VASP reporting incidence of varicella had shown dramatic decline in their studied communities. Currently, nearly all states have mandated varicella vaccination for school entry.
Varivax (chickenpox) Package Insert
Proquad (chickenpox, measles, mumps, rubella) Package Insert
Zostavax (Shingles) Package Insert
“…VARIVAX is a preparation of the Oka/Merck strain of live, attenuated varicella virus. The virus was initially obtained from a child with natural varicella, then introduced into human embryonic lung cell cultures adapted to and propagated in embryonic guinea pig cell cultures, and finally propagated in human diploid cell cultures (WI 38). Further passage of the virus for varicella vaccine was performed at Merck Research Laboratories in human diploid cell cultures (MRC-5) that were free of adventitious agents…”
“…Each 0.5 ml dose contains the following: a minimum of 1350 PFU (plaque forming units) of Oka/Merck varicella virus when reconstituted; approximately 25 mg of sucrose; 12.5 mg hydrolysed gelatine; 3.2 mg sodium chloride; 0.5 mg monosodium L-glutamate; 0.45 mg of sodium phosphate dibasic; 0.08 mg of potassium phosphate monobasic; 0.08 mg of potassium chloride; residual components of MRC-5 cells including DNA and protein; and trace quantities of sodium phosphate monobasic; EDTA; neomycin, and fetal bovine serum. The product contains no preservative…”
Translation: The culture medium is human embryonic lung cells, from an aborted fetus, embryonic guinea pig cell cultures, WI 38 which is a different cell line from another aborted fetus, and another aborted fetus labeled MRC-5.
“…The nearly 2 m g of unmodified mammalian DNA in each dose of Varivax exceeds that present in any other approved childhood vaccine…” Other vaccines also contain unmodified DNA, but chickenpox contains more than the others.
A medical study was done to see if any of the 293 people vaccinated with Varivax developed anti-DNA antibodies from residual fetal tissue/DNA in the vaccine. The study stated that there were no significant changes in anti-DNA antibody, or the frequency of elevated anti-DNA titers. However, if these people have had other vaccines, which already contain human DNA, and they already have anti-DNA antibodies, exactly what does the ‘significance’ mean? Another possibility considered was that the human DNA present in Varivax might integrate into and transform the vaccinated person’s cells. A Human Rights Committee on karyolitic controls of human substrates proposed limits for chromosomal abnormalities in human diploid cell lines used to manufacture biologic products. These guidelines have become:
“…generally accepted upper limits for chromosomal abnormalities. A clonal 7; 12 chromosomal translocation in the MRC-5 cells used to produce some lots of Varivax exceeded these limits for structural abnormalities. To evaluate the theoretical concerns raised by this observation Merck undertook a comprehensive assessment of MRC-5 (aborted fetal) cells to document that they were not tumorigenic. MRC-5 cells from the cell banks used to produce vaccine did not produce tumors when injected into nude mice, reached senescence normally, and did not exhibit a malignant phenotype. Cells bearing the 7; 12 translocation did not proliferate preferentially during the lifetime of the cell line in comparison with MRC-5 cells lacking the translocation. No human disease associated with abnormalities involving a 7; 12 translocation has been reported. Outside experts concurred with the FDA’s assessment that the risk of MRC-5 DNA’s inducing a malignant transformation in vaccinees under the condition of vaccination was exceedingly low…” (J Pediatrics 1995; 127:518-25)
This information will simply ‘prove’ to doctors that the vaccine is safe, but far from reassuring or proven. Varivax contains 2 mg of WI 38 and MRC-5 which are two aborted fetuses. The chromosomal abnormalities in this cell line exceed the currently accepted upper limits. Merck assumed a comprehensive assessment to document that they were not oncogenic. Also stated:
“…Detectable infectious agents were not present in the material used to produce Varivax, nor were they introduced during the manufacturing process…”
The key word is “detectable”. You can only find what you have a test to identify and what you are looking for. Fetal bovine serum, including batches previously passed by the FDA and WHO, has been documented to be contaminated with several different viruses in the past. New viruses every year come out, and new tests have to be made to test for them. There is no guarantee that these vaccines do not contain something that is unable to be detected, but advanced testing might show it in the future. So the answer for manufacturers is to protect themselves with the word ‘detectable’. This way they can only be held liable in the future for those things which were able to be identified at the date of manufacture.
Testing and Safety of Varivax Vaccine:
“Pregnancy: the possible effects of the vaccine on fetal development are unknown at this time. However, natural varicella is known to sometimes cause fetal harm… the duration of protection is unknown … vaccination should be deferred for at least 5 months following blood or plasma transfusions, immune globulin or varicella zoster immune globulin … vaccine recipients should avoid use of salicylates for 6 weeks after vaccination as Reye’s syndrome has been reported following the use of salicylates during natural varicella infection … Varivax should be deferred in patients with a family history of congenital or hereditary immunodeficiency until the patient’s own immune system has been evaluated … post- marketing experience suggests that transmission of vaccine virus may occur rarely between healthy vaccinees who develop a varicella- like rash and healthy susceptible contacts…” (Merck, Sharpe &Dohme, 1999)
Varivax has not been evaluated for its carcinogenic or mutagenic potential or its potential to impair fertility. It is not known whether varicella vaccine virus is secreted in human milk. No clinical data are available on safety or efficacy of Varivax in children less than one year of age, and administration to infants under 12 months of age is not recommended.
Multiple trials and post licensing studies and testing of vaccinees in the U.S. were conducted in communities where natural, or wild type, varicella incidence was still high. Estimates of the vaccine effectiveness, and the duration of immunity were overestimated and distorted because of the immunologic boosting alluded to by Merck. When natural varicella remains high in the community, it boosts immunity in vaccinees that received a single dose and there were no adverse effects on the closely related herpes-zoster epidemiology. (Seward et al.2004) www.medicalveritas.com/R0010.pdf
For more in depth information: Medical Veritas
In 2007, the CDC published an article in the New England Journal of Medicine that stated Merck’s VARIVAX vaccine has a high failure rate and mass vaccination of children has caused the disease to occur in older age groups. Now the CDC states children between 4 and 6 years old need a booster dose and a third booster may be needed for teenagers.
In 2000, the FDA reported that during the first three years of the vaccine’s use, 1 in 33,000 doses was followed by shock, convulsions, encephalitis, thrombocytopenia or death. Roughly 82 percent of the adverse event reports to VAERS occurred in those who only received the chicken pox vaccine. This led to the addition of 17 adverse events to the Merck product label which include secondary bacterial infections or cellulitis; secondary transmission, transverse myelitis; GBS, and herpes zoster. In 2000, VAERS received reports of brain inflammation, convulsions, vaccine strain chicken pox, shingles, regressive autism and other serious health problems following injection of Varivax, or in combination with MMR, DTaP, influenza, pneumococcal and/or other vaccines.
Even if chickenpox was nearly eradicated by vaccination, the higher number of shingles cases could continue in the US for up to 50 years.
In 2006, the FDA approved Merck’s shingles vaccine, ZOSTAVAX, for adults 60 years and older who have had chickenpox previously. The ACIP soon afterwards recommended it for all adults over 60 regardless of whether they had chickenpox previously or not. ZOSTAVAX is similar to Merck’s Varivax but is 14 times more potent.
“The principal reason that chicken pox vaccines in Japan maintained high levels of immunity 20 years following vaccination was that only 1 in 5 Japanese children were voluntarily vaccinated. Those vaccinated received immunologic boosting from contact with children with natural chickenpox. But the mandatory vaccination program in the U.S. will nearly eradicate this natural boosting mechanism and leave our population vulnerable to shingles.”
Vaccines provide temporary, qualitatively inferior immunity compared to immunity achieved after natural recovery from disease. And just as mass antibiotic use has put pressure on organisms to evolve into antibiotic resistant forms, mass vaccine use can put pressure on organisms to mutate into vaccine resistant forms.
The Shingles Vaccine
With the increasing use of Varicella vaccine, HZ incidence among adults increased 90%, from 2.77/1000 to 5.25/1000 in the period 1998 to 2003. (Yih et al. 2005).
The Varicella Active Surveillance Project conducting active surveillance of HZ in the Antelope Valley region of California since 2000 found that Zoster cases among adults aged 20 years and older increased 18% from 237 cases in 2000 to 279 in 2001 with increases in nearly every 10-year age group from 20–29 through 60–69. Young adults from the pre-vaccine era, experienced the greatest percentage increase in cases.
Vaccination of adults has seldom been successful and adults tend to experience a higher rate of adverse effects versus children. Varicella vaccination is considered safe but there are no prescreening tests to determine whether an adverse reaction is likely to occur (Poser 2003). The medical literature contains a number of adverse reactions following varicella vaccination.
The Oxman et al. 2005 study looked at adverse effects in one-sixth of the subjects during 42 days following vaccination. Kaufman states:
“Extrapolating the results to 19,273 subjects in the whole treatment group, this group had 132 more cases (0.7%) of one or more serious adverse events and 4,677 more cases (24%) of one or more adverse events than the placebo group.”
There is evidence already that Zostavax can induce autoimmunity or worsen a pre-existing autoimmune disorder and raise the risk of heart disease conditions.
An FDA review of the Zostavax clinical data concluded that the vaccine was effective at reducing shingles pain but did not significantly reduce shingles related hospitalizations or death. In the Shingles Prevention Study, which enrolled 38,546 patients, the vaccine reduced the rate of shingles in persons 60 or older by half, and reduced the rate of postherpetic neuralgia by 66.5%. Those results were reported in the New England Journal of Medicine. The 5 and ½ year-trial randomized 19,270 patients to the active vaccine. The vaccine reduced the burden of illness due to herpes zoster by 61%, reduced the rate of postherpetic neuralgia by 66.5%, and reduced the rate of herpes zoster by 51.3%.
An Adverse Events Monitoring Study (AEMS) was conducted to look at safety. In this smaller study, serious adverse events for all age groups were noted in 1.9% of Zostavax patients, versus 1.3% of patients receiving placebo in the 42 days following vaccination. In the entire study population, the rates of overall cardiovascular events (0.4%) including coronary artery disease related conditions (0.2%) were similar in those vaccinated with Zostavax or placebo. In the AEMS substudy, during the first 42 days after vaccination, the rate of overall cardiovascular events was higher after 0.6% after Zostavax versus 0.4% after placebo. The rate of coronary artery disease-related conditions was slightly higher in Zostavax arm (0.3% versus 0.2%).
The U.S. Universal Varicella Vaccination Program and its cost-benefit analysis is no longer valid because most communities with widespread varicella vaccine coverage are still getting chicken pox. A single dose was touted as providing lifelong immunity when it does not. There is an immunologically-mediated link between varicella incidence and HZ incidence and the vaccine is not safe. See Vaers reports.
Primary Vaccine Failure after 1 Dose of Varicella Vaccine in Healthy Children
The Journal of Infectious Diseases 2008; 197:944–949
Universal immunization of young children with 1 dose of varicella vaccine was recommended in the United States in 1995, and it has significantly decreased the incidence of chickenpox. Outbreaks of varicella, however, are reported among vaccinated children. Although vaccine effectiveness has usually been 85%, rates as low as 44% have been observed. Whether this is from primary or secondary vaccine failure—or both—is unclear. We tested serum samples from 148 healthy children immunized against varicella in New York, Tennessee, and California to determine their seroconversion rates, before and after 1 dose of Merck/Oka varicella vaccine. The median age at vaccination was 12.5 months; postvaccination serum samples were obtained on average 4 months later. Serum was tested for antibodies against varicella-zoster virus (VZV) by use of the previously validated sensitive and specific fluorescent antibody to membrane antigen (FAMA) assay. Of 148 healthy child vaccinees, 113 (76%) seroconverted, and 24% had no detectable VZV FAMA antibodies. Our data contrast with reported seroconversion rates of 86%–96% by other VZV antibody tests and suggest that many cases of varicella in immunized children are due to primary vaccine failure. A second dose of varicella vaccine is expected to increase seroconversion rates and vaccine effectiveness.
Second Dose of Varicella Vaccine for Children: Are We Giving It Too Late?
The Journal of Infectious Diseases 2008; 197:944–949
A large case-control study indicated that the vaccine’s overall effectiveness up to 8 years after immunization was 87% . Thus, although the vaccination program certainly was effective, “breakthrough” varicella (varicella in persons who had previously received varicella vaccine) occurred with some frequency. Since most breakthrough disease is mild, why does this matter? In the first place, children with breakthrough disease are able to transmit the virus to others, which has resulted in numerous disruptive outbreaks of varicella in day-care centers and in schools despite high rates of immunization at many of these sites [8–9]. Moreover, approximately one-third of children with breakthrough varicella have moderate or severe disease, and there has been at least one death in an immunized child. In addition, those who have had breakthrough varicella may be at higher risk of subsequently developing zoster than are immunized persons.
In June 2006, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended that a second dose of varicella vaccine be administered routinely to children . Although the vaccine can be given as soon as 3 months after the first dose, it is recommended that it be administered between 4 and 6 years of age. This is largely because a combined measles-mumps-rubella-varicella (MMR-V) vaccine was approved in October, 2005 [25, 26]. As a result, both the first and second doses of varicella vaccine are easily given at the same time as MMR vaccine via this combined vaccine at 12–15 months and 4–6 years of age, respectively. This allows the second dose of the vaccine to be administered without requiring an additional injection in the already crowded schedule for childhood immunizations. However, if the substantial number of cases of breakthrough varicella is due to primary, rather than secondary, vaccine failure, this timing for the second dose risks leaving a substantial number of children susceptible for several years until they receive the second dose and may diminish its impact on the epidemiology of the disease.
To further complicate matters, the amount of varicella virus in monovalent varicella vaccine and in MMR-V vaccine differs substantially, because varicella vaccine is less immunogenic when combined with MMR vaccine in the same preparation. Monovalent varicella vaccine contains a minimum of 1350 pfu per dose, whereas MMR-V vaccine contains a minimum of 9700 pfu of varicella vaccine per dose (according to the package insert labeling) . The few data available have indicated that, after 2 doses of monovalent vaccine, titers of antibody to VZV, as measured by gpELISA, increase by a factor of 12 but that, after 2 doses of MMR-V vaccine, titers may increase up to 40-fold [16, 28, 29]. However, immunogenicity of MMR-V vaccine has not been assessed using the clinically validated FAMA assay. Moreover, because of problems with production at Merck , MMR-V vaccine is either not available at this time or is in short supply, and most children are receiving monovalent vaccine. There is uncertainty about if and when MMR-V vaccine will again become available.
Chicken Pox/Shingles Treatment
Vitamins A and C are the vitamin treatment of choice. Chickenpox can require large doses, but Shingles requires much larger doses. Selenium and Zinc are also beneficial.
Avoid sugar and undiluted fruit juices.
Mint tea made with lemon balm or other mints may be beneficial: hyssop, oregano, peppermint, rosemary, sage, self-heal, spearmint or thyme. These are antiviral, anti-herpetic compounds. If there are spots in the throat, you can add licorice root. You could mix it with pear juice which is rich in antiviral caffeic acid.
Keep the skin clean and cool with frequent baths using 1 cup baking soda or 5 drops lavender essential oil in the bath water. Rubbing the juice from the fresh stems of aloe vera can also help the itching. Cider vinegar neat, used as compresses, changes the skin PH and when held against the pox spots can kill surface virus particularly where the blister is broken. No pox virus can survive a ph of 3.
An oil mix, for adults, is bergamot, chamomile, eucalyptus, geranium, lavender, lemon and tea tree oil… as above, or dilute them by adding 5 drops each to a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil and apply them directly to rash if painful.
Epsom salts baths with oat straw/oatmeal-one cup per bath in a bag, hung under the hot water tap, and then float it, for children who are tense and itchy.
Echinacea and goldenseal combination helps prevent bacterial infections of the sores. So can Calendula (1 tsp tincture – 4 tsp water)
For severe, Lysine (an essential amino acid) inhibits replication of both chickenpox and shingles. Use 2,000 mg a day as a supplement (or smaller doses in children). Lysine works by blocking the virus’s ability to absorb arginine.
For pain in both children and adults, often the person is vitamin B deficient. For shingles in older adults, if nerve pain is severe B12 injections along with some of the others orally can relieve the pain, and shorten the course of illness.
If a bacterial infection looks like its setting in, a capsule of Transfer Factor may help. Breast milk, if available, may do the same.
Shingles is triggered by stress, and stress pulls out huge amounts of B-vitamins from the body. People with shingles need B supplementation.
For both chickenpox and shingles in adults, Hydrogen Peroxide gel, every 2 – 3 hours helps dry and heal blisters.
Alpha Lipoic acid is another some doctors prescribe for shingles in adults. It’s an antioxidant, and helps keep the scarring of both chickenpox and shingles to a minimum. It may affect blood sugar levels, so use with care with diabetics.
Pharmaceutical treatment for shingles is dependent upon symptom alleviation using drugs like prednisone and acyclovir.
CHICKEN POX: Why Do Children Die?
Age of Autism-Proquad Series:
Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7
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