I was very interested to read a long article on chickenpox and shingles by Dr Mercola today, and obviously others were too as so many comments were posted at the end. What made it so intriguing was that it looks as if the vaccine, now given to many young children against chickenpox, has resulted in a huge increase in shingles cases in adults.
How can you develop shingles
You cannot develop shingles
unless you have had chickenpox - the virus usually remains dormant in your system unless or until something such as a weakened immune system or extreme stress triggers it. But in the past, during adulthood and as and when you came into contact with cases of chickenpox in children, this would act as a booster to your immune system to protect you from developing shingles.
Now that we as adults are no longer coming into contact with chickenpox in young children, we no longer receive those boosters
Dr Mercola says: “It's now been fifteen years since Merck's chickenpox vaccine was approved for market. What had always been regarded as a relatively benign childhood illness was suddenly reinvented in the 1990s as a life-threatening disease for which children must get vaccinated or face dire health consequences.
But wait—Merck to the rescue!
As is true with many new and potentially unnecessary medical interventions used on a widespread basis, there are often unintended consequences. The chickenpox (varicella) vaccine is a perfect example. By trying to prevent all children from experiencing chickenpox naturally, this policy may have actually created a NEW epidemic—not in children but in adults, especially elderly adults. Vaccinating children for chickenpox may very well be causing a shingles epidemic.”
Dr Mercola goes on to explain: “Nature has devised an elegant plan for protecting you from the shingles virus.
After contracting and recovering from chickenpox (usually as a child), as you age, your natural immunity gets asymptomatically "boosted" by coming into contact with infected children, who are recovering from chickenpox. This natural "boosting" of natural immunity to the varicella (chickenpox) virus helps protect you from getting shingles later in life.
This is true whether you are a child, adolescent, young adult, or elderly—every time you come into contact with someone infected with chickenpox, you get a natural "booster shot" that protects you from a painful—and expensive—bout with shingles. In other words, shingles can be prevented by ordinary contact, such as receiving a hug from a grandchild who is getting or recovering from the chickenpox. But with the advent of the chickenpox vaccine, there is less chickenpox around to provide that natural immune boost for children AND adults.
So as chickenpox rates have declined, shingles rates have begun to rise, and there is mounting evidence that an epidemic of shingles is developing in America from the mass, mandatory use of the chickenpox vaccine by all children.
As hard as scientists try to come up with ways to "improve" human biology, they just can't outsmart Mother Nature.. In trying to tinker with the natural order of things, we tend to destroy processes that nature has masterfully orchestrated to keep us healthy.
This dance between chickenpox and shingles is a perfect example.”
In his article
, the author goes on to quote research carried out by Gary S. Goldman, Ph.D. who served for 8 years as a research analyst with the Varicella Active Surveillance Project in Los Angeles County with funding from the CDC, revealed high rates of shingles in Americans since the government's 1995 recommendation that all children receive chickenpox vaccine, while a team at Britain's Public Health Laboratory Service (PHLS) found that adults living with children enjoy higher levels of protection from shingles. They stated that, although chickenpox can be life threatening for the immune compromised, thousands of elderly people could also die from the complications of shingles. PHLS called for a re-evaluation of the policy of mass chickenpox vaccination in the U.S., as well as other countries implementing this practice.
One common thread that stood out from many of the comments was the fact that the chickenpox vaccine was being pushed by government to prevent parents from having to stay home from work to look after a child with chickenpox for a couple of weeks. The cost to the workforce was too great but never mind the cost to the child, and now the elderly who have to suffer the pain and discomfort of a shingles outbreak.
I can see that this is going to be the subject of much debate in the coming months. Whether you are a parent of young children or an older adult who is fearful of developing shingles, there is plenty of food for thought for you here.