Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Canada OKs vaccine to prevent painful shingles in seniors

From CBC News:
Health Canada has approved a vaccine to help prevent painful singles in people 60 or older who had chickenpox earlier in life.

Zostavax, made by Merck Frosst Canada, should be available through doctors and pharmacies starting sometime next year, the company announced Tuesday.

Shingles occurs when the chickenpox virus reactivates after lying dormant in nerve cells, sometimes for decades, and starts reproducing again. In other cases, the virus may stay dormant indefinitely.

Shingles, also called herpes zoster, causes a painful red rash and sensations of tingling, itching and burning. The rash can lead to scarring and the pain can persist in some people for months or years. Up to 20 per cent of adults who have had chickenpox will get shingles later in life. ...more

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