New research in Pediatric Dermatology reports several cases of shingles that developed at the original vaccination site in healthy children after they were immunized against chicken pox. Most of these cases were initially misdiagnosed as other skin rashes. While some of these patients underwent tests to help make the diagnosis, all of the children recovered without complications.
Infection with the varicella-zoster virus leads to chickenpox, or primary varicella. The virus then lies dormant and can later reactivate as shingles, or herpes zoster. The varicella-zoster vaccine is made of an attenuated live virus that prevents most people from getting chicken pox but rarely can reactivate and cause shingles.
The cases highlight the importance of recognizing shingles in vaccinated children.
“Shingles in healthy immunized children is rare, but when it occurs it may correlate to the original vaccination site,” said senior author Dr. Jennifer Huang, of Boston Children’s Hospital. “Recognizing vaccine-associated shingles may prevent unnecessary procedures or testing.”