People who haven't had chickenpox and are exposed to an ill family member should get vaccinated within five days to reduce the risk of developing the disease, says a new study.
The study conducted by Dr. Maria Brotons and colleagues of Hospital Universitario Vall d'Hebron, Barcelona tested with "postexposure prophylaxis," a process of giving chickenpox (varicella) vaccine after exposure to the disease, in 67 patients.
The patients, including 21 children, were exposed to a family member with chickenpox. All patients received commercially available chickenpox vaccine within five days after exposure.
According to previous studies, it was estimated that 58 of the 67 patients would get sick after being exposed to chickenpox.
However, only 22 patients developed the disease after being vaccinated. Thus vaccination after exposure was about 62 percent effective in preventing chickenpox.
And, even when the disease did develop, it was mild to moderate in all cases.
Also, there was no difference in effectiveness between children and adults, or between patients vaccinated at different times after exposure up to 5 days post-exposure.
The study has been published in the January issue of The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal.