A reduction of invasive group A Streptococcus bloodstream infections and the disappearance of the varicella rash were associated with the introduction of the varicella vaccine in children in southern Israel, according to results of an ongoing 27-year surveillance study.
Researchers at the Pediatric Infectious Disease Unit at Soroka University Medical Center in Beer Sheva, Israel, conducted a population-based surveillance study of invasive group A Streptococcus (GAS) infections that began in 1990 — 13 years before the varicella vaccine was introduced to the private market — and continued 14 years after implementation.
The researchers wrote that after the varicella vaccine was introduced to the national immunization program in September 2008, vaccine coverage rapidly reached greater than 90%. The vaccine is given in two doses for children between the ages of 1 and 6 to 7 years.
According to the researchers, the annual rate of GAS bacteremia per 100,000 children in southern Israel declined after the varicella vaccine was introduced to the national immunization program — from 2.43 (95% CI, 1.73-3.13) in 1995 to 2002 to 1.3 (95% CI, 0.91-1.72) in 2010 to 2016 (P = .04).
“We clearly show that there was a decrease in pediatric [invasive GAS bloodstream infection (BSI)] after the introduction of varicella vaccine into the [national immunization program] in a population with greater than 90% vaccine uptake,” the researchers concluded. “This reduction correlated with the disappearance of varicella rash as a predisposing factor and reduction in skin and soft tissue manifestations accompanying GAS BSI.” – by Bruce Thiel
Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.