Growing up, chickenpox seemed to be one of those illnesses that were just a given. At some point in your life, you’d likely get it.
The number of chickenpox cases is down 97% since 1996.
From 1996 to 2005, the US had a one-dose varicella-vaccination program, which began shortly after the chickenpox vaccine was approved. Since 2005, children have been vaccinated with a more effective, two-dose vaccine.
The two-dose vaccine has led to the sharpest decline in cases. Between 2005-2006 and 2013-2014 – in less than a decade – incidence of the disease across the US declined by 85%.
Varicella is a highly contagious infection that’s characterized by the itchy, red spots it leaves all over people’s bodies, along with fever and fatigue. Before a vaccine was available, there were an estimated 4 million cases in the US every year. Now it occurs in less than five out of every 100,000 people in the US (roughly 16,000 cases).
Here’s what the incidence of varicella has looked like per 100,000 people in Illinois, Michigan, Texas, and West Virginia over the last 24 years.
Some people who get the vaccine still do get chickenpox, but it tends to be a milder version than if the person hadn’t had the vaccine.
Up next, the CDC said in the report, the agency hopes to get a better picture on how the varicella vaccines are implemented, and better data so that states can better approach any potential outbreaks.