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Varicella Zoster Vaccine Linked to Corneal Inflammation

Important for physicians to know when giving vaccine to individuals with history of keratitis


TUESDAY, Jan. 26, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Varicella zoster virus vaccination has been linked to corneal inflammation, but the number of such cases is small, according to research presented recently at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology in Las Vegas.

Frederick Fraunfelder, M.D., chair of the ophthalmology department and director of the University of Missouri Eye Institute in Columbia, and colleagues found 20 cases of keratitis in children and adults that occurred within a month of receiving a varicella zoster virus vaccine. Symptoms of the disorder developed within 24 days of vaccination among adults. In children, symptoms began within 14 days of vaccination.

Anyone with a past history of keratitis should be closely monitored after they get a varicella zoster virus vaccine to be sure they don't have any inflammation of the cornea or additional scarring, Fraunfelder advised.

"While this is a rare occurrence, it's important for physicians to know when giving the vaccine to individuals who have a history of the condition because it could be reactivated by the vaccine," Fraunfelder said in a university news release.

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