Two teen boys become the first ever to contract meningitis from chickenpox vaccine: Live virus reactivated over a DECADE after they received the shot, doctors claim

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  • Both boys received the two recommended doses of the varicella, or chickenpox, vaccine as children 
  • In rare cases in immunocompromised patients, the live virus used in the shot can reactivate and can causes infections including shingles and meningitis
  • One of the boys was immuncompromised with a history of leukemia while the other was otherwise healthy 
  • They were treated with acyclovir, an antiviral drug that treats chickenpox, shingles and cold scores


Doctors believe they have discovered the first known case of the chickenpox vaccine reactivating in two 14-year-old boys and causing meningitis.

According to the paper, published in the journal Pediatrics, both teens had received the recommended two doses of the varicella vaccine as children.

The vaccine, which was developed in the 1970s and first distributed in the US in 1995, has been proven to be safe and effective.

However, in very rare cases in immunocompromised patients, the live virus can reactivate and can causes shingles, pneumonia, hepatitis or meningitis, which is an inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord.


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