Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Chickenpox: Complications do occur, Parents please vaccinate your kids!

I had hope that I would never have to see a severe chickenpox case but it was only a matter of time before it happened.

This boy came to the clinic today with severe Chickenpox which had gotten infected. What is more serious is that he was also complaining of neck stiffness. So I had to send them immediately to KKH to investigate for possible Chickenpox meningitis.

To all parents who are reading this post. Please don't think that Chickenpox is something every child needs to get. If this child had been given the Chickenpox vaccine, there is a good chance that he would never get Chickenpox and in the 20% of cases where they still get Chickenpox after vaccination, it would never have gotten to this stage of severity.

I am following the case closely. If the KKH doctors also suspect meningitis, then they would do a lumbar puncture where a long needle is inserted into the lower back to extract some of the cerebro-spinal fluid to confirm if the virus has infected the brain. Please pray that this is not the case. Chickenpox meningitis can sometimes leave the child with some long term side effects with regards to mental ability.

Concerning the booster dose for Chickenpox. I have already written about this in my previous post. The 2nd dose of Chickenpox vaccine is currently the standard practise in the US, but the practise is not yet adopted in Singapore. Parents can still opt for a booster dose after the first dose in order to give your child a higher level of protection.

Again, parents, please be aware of this and make a wise decision for your child based on facts and not on hearsay.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Chickenpox: Does your child need a booster?

We are currently experiencing an outbreak of Chickenpox at one of the childcare centres in the area and a few of the children are experiencing breakthrough chickenpox even after they had their first Chickenpox vaccination.

Please note that no vaccine is 100% effective and evidence has shown that even after the first vaccination, approximately 2 in 10 kids may still contract Chickenpox. We call this "breakthrough" chicken pox. Breakthrough Chickenpox is often a milder form of the disease and usually does not last as long as compared to kids who have not been vaccinated.

Because of this, the US has been advising parents to give their kids a booster jab ie, the doctors in the US are now giving children 2 jabs instead of one. The second jab is to be given at least 3 months after the first one. In Singapore, the MOH has not recommended a booster Chickenpox jab yet.

*Note that even if the child has been exposed to kids with chickenpox, the vaccine has been shown to be effective if given within 72 hours of exposure.

Since it is less than 2 weeks to the Chinese New Year, many of our parents are very stressed since they have already made plans to go overseas or even just the fact that they will not be able to do their customary visitations.

If your child has not yet taken the chickenpox vaccination, please do consider bringing them to the clinic for a jab. If your child has already taken the first jab, you might want to consider taking a second one to give them a higher level of protection. After the first jab the protection level is around 80%. This increases to more than 90% after the 2nd jab.

Chickenpox is usually a mild disease, but it can be very stressful if it disrupts your travel plans! We even have mothers who are pregnant who have to make special arrangements to isolate themselves from their children!

You can read more about the recommendation from the US CDC by clicking here.