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Varicella Vaccine and Shingles—Reply

Jane F. Seward, MBBS, MPH; Aisha O. Jumaan, PhD, MPH; Karin Galil, MD, MPH; Melinda Wharton, MD, MPH
JAMA. 2002;287(17):2211-2212. doi:10.1001/jama.287.17.2209.
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In Reply: We agree with Dr Brisson and colleagues that surveillance for HZ is essential for evaluating the impact of the varicella vaccination program. Because the population sizes in the varicella active surveillance sites are not sufficient to monitor age-specific HZ incidence, the CDC has funded 2 other sites—Massachusetts Department of Public Health and Group Health Cooperative (GHC) in Seattle—to conduct population-based varicella and HZ surveillance and monitor age-specific incidence rates. Massachusetts has monitored incidence through a statewide telephone survey since 1998,1 while GHC is examining its automated medical records since 1992. To date, no increase in HZ is evident in any age group in either site (CDC, unpublished data, 2001).2 However, continued surveillance is needed to detect any changes in HZ incidence.


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