Dec. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Children who are vaccinated against chicken pox may also have increased protection against shingles, new findings suggest.
U.S. researchers looked at the health records of 172,163 children in southern California who were vaccinated with the varicella (chicken pox) vaccine between 2002 and 2008.
Over an average of 2.5 years after receiving the chicken pox vaccine, only 122 cases of shingles (herpes zoster) occurred among the children, an estimated incidence of one case per 3,700 children per year. That rate is lower than what would be expected in unvaccinated children, according to the researchers.
"The message to parents and pediatricians is: vaccinating your child against the chicken pox is also a good way to reduce their chances of getting herpes zoster," study lead author HungFu Tseng, a research scientist and epidemiologist at the Kaiser Permanente Department of Research and Evaluation in Pasadena, Calif., said in a news release.
"More research is needed to identify the virus strains that cause herpes zoster," Tseng added.
The study, the largest of its kind, is published in the December issue of the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal.
SOURCE: Kaiser Permanente, news release, Dec. 4, 2009