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Not All U.S. States Reporting Varicella Cases to CDC

Lack of reports hamper efforts to judge vaccine efficacy

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Although progress has been made toward the reporting of varicella cases to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, not all states follow the 2002 recommendations for case-based surveillance, making it hard to judge the efficacy of varicella vaccination, according to a report in the Oct. 20 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

In 2002, the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists recommended that all states adopt varicella case-based surveillance by 2005. To determine progress, the CDC surveyed immunization program managers in 56 public health jurisdictions in 2004, shortly after varicella was added to the list of national notifiable diseases.

The CDC researchers found that not all 56 jurisdictions followed the recommendation. Survey responses indicate that in 2004, 28 of 56 public health jurisdictions had not implemented case-based surveillance. In 2006, 31 jurisdictions reported conducting case-based surveillance for varicella.

"To monitor the effect of the vaccination program on the changing epidemiology of varicella disease, every state should now be conducting case-based surveillance for varicella. This is particularly important in light of the 2006 recommendation by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices for a routine second dose of varicella vaccine for children aged 4 to 6 years because enhanced surveillance is needed to further monitor varicella epidemiology," the report states.

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