Science Current Events | Science News | Brightsurf.com
 

Google searches for 'chickenpox' reveal big impact of vaccinations

May 31, 2016

ANN ARBOR -- Countries that implement government-mandated vaccinations for chickenpox see a sharp drop in the number of Google searches for the common childhood disease afterward, demonstrating that immunization significantly reduces seasonal outbreaks.

That's one of the findings from a new University of Michigan-led study that analyzed thousands of Google searches for "chickenpox." The researchers downloaded and analyzed freely available Google Trends data from 36 countries on five continents, covering an 11-year period starting in 2004.

The technique is sometimes called digital epidemiology and has previously been used to identify outbreaks of diseases like influenza, rotavirus and norovirus. But the chickenpox study is the first to use digital epidemiology to show the effectiveness of a vaccine, said Kevin Bakker, a doctoral student in the U-M Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

"It is really exciting to see human information-seeking behavior -- Google searches -- being reduced by vaccination implementation," Bakker said. "It's a very clear signal, and it shows that the vaccine is having a strong effect."

He said the approach offers a novel way to track the global burden of childhood diseases and to illustrate the population-level effects of immunization -- especially for diseases, like chickenpox, where clinical case data are scarce. However, the technique is limited to countries where internet service is widely available.

Bakker is lead author of a paper on the topic scheduled for online publication May 30, 2016 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The work will also be a chapter in his doctoral dissertation.

The study is one of the most comprehensive digital epidemiology efforts to date, Bakker said. Examining data from several dozen countries enabled the researchers to identify the seasonality of chickenpox outbreaks, which occurred in the springtime worldwide, he said.

The main idea behind digital epidemiology studies is that the number of Google searches spikes in response to an infectious-disease outbreak as worried parents and others seek information about symptoms, treatment, vaccines and related topics.

To demonstrate that internet queries about chickenpox can be used as a reliable proxy for disease incidence, Bakker and his colleagues had to show that Google Trends data accurately reflected clinical cases. But chickenpox is not included in the World Health Organization's global monitoring system for vaccine-preventable diseases, and only a handful of countries report cases to national-level public health officials.

Bakker and his colleagues found that in the three countries that require reporting of chickenpox cases but do not require vaccination against the disease--Mexico, Thailand and Estonia--Google searches for "chickenpox" were strongly correlated with reported cases. In the United States and Australia, two countries that report chickenpox and require the vaccine, the correlation still held but was weaker.

These correlations enabled the researchers to create a forecasting model to predict the timing and magnitude of chickenpox outbreaks based on Google Trends data.

"These results suggest that information seeking can be used for rapid forecasting, when the reporting of clinical cases is unavailable or too slow," the authors wrote.

But the most interesting results, according to Bakker, were analyses showing a reduction in searches for "chickenpox" following the implementation of a government-mandated vaccination program for the disease.

This effect was most striking in Germany, which gradually increased its vaccination requirements over the course of several years, beginning in 2004. Google Trends data are available for the full period and show stepwise drops in Google searches for "chickenpox" following each new vaccination requirement.

"These results demonstrate that if you institute nationwide vaccination for chickenpox there is a very clear reduction in searches, which is a way to infer a strong reduction in total disease incidence," Bakker said.

One of the strengths of the study is that chickenpox is a disease with distinct symptoms, unlike influenza and other illnesses that have been studied using digital epidemiology, Bakker said.

Chickenpox is a highly contagious disease caused by the varicella zoster virus. It causes a blister-like rash, itching, tiredness and fever. The rash appears first on the stomach, back and face and then spreads over the entire body, causing between 250 and 500 itchy blisters, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In adults, the same virus can cause shingles.

Since U.S. vaccinations began in 1996, the annual number of chickenpox cases in the country has declined by 92 percent, the annual number of hospitalizations has dropped by 84 percent, and the annual number of deaths has decreased by 90 percent, according to CDC.

###

Bakker's co-authors on the PNAS paper are Micaela Martinez-Bakker of Princeton University, Barbara Helm of the University of Glasgow and Tyler Stevenson of the University of Aberdeen. Bakker was supported by a Michigan Institute in Computational Discovery and Engineering Fellowship.

University of Michigan


Related Chickenpox Current Events and Chickenpox News Articles


Immunization rates climb when pediatricians have easy access to vaccination records
Exchange of immunization data between a centralized city immunization registry and provider electronic health records led to significant improvements in pediatric immunization coverage, a reduction in over-immunization for adolescents, and increased completeness of immunization records.

Chickenpox, shingles vaccine may cause corneal inflammation in some patients
In use for more than 20 years, the varicella zoster virus vaccine for chickenpox and shingles is considered an essential medicine by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Shingles increases short-term risk of stroke in older adults
More than 95% of the world's adult population is infected with the virus that causes chickenpox.

Shingles vaccine helps protect older patients with end-stage renal disease
Elderly patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) who received the shingles vaccine were half as likely to develop shingles compared to those who were not vaccinated.

Chickenpox continues to decline in US thanks to vaccination
Since the chickenpox vaccine became available in the U.S. in 1995, there has been a large reduction in chickenpox cases.

Chickenpox vaccination does increase shingles cases, but mainly in young adults
Vaccinating one-year-olds against chickenpox could temporarily nearly double the incidence of shingles in the wider population, but in younger adults than previously thought.

Novel method identifies children with rheumatic disease eligible for life-saving vaccine
The results of a study presented today at the European League Against Rheumatism Annual Congress (EULAR 2015) Press Conference showed that the chickenpox (varicella) vaccine can be effective and safe even in children with paediatric rheumatic disease receiving immunosuppression treatment.

Study illustrates how chickenpox virus can cause a stroke in an HIV patient
Patients infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) can, in rare cases, experience bleeding on the brain that causes a type of stroke called intracerebral hemorrhage.

Ebola Highlights Disparity of Disease Burden in Developed vs. Developing Countries
A study recently published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology shows that for Ebola, measles, syphilis and many other conditions with skin manifestations the mortality rates are hundreds of times higher in developing countries than they are in developed countries. The case of Ebola, the paper writes, "Highlights the importance of monitoring disease burden in the developing world even when the burden is low."

Stroke risk higher after shingles, but antiviral drugs may provide protection
Patients' risk of stroke significantly increased following the first signs of shingles, but antiviral drugs appeared to offer some protection, according to a new study in Clinical Infectious Diseases, now available online.
More Chickenpox Current Events and Chickenpox News Articles

Itchy, Itchy Chicken Pox (Hello Reader!, Level 1)

Itchy, Itchy Chicken Pox (Hello Reader!, Level 1)
by Grace MacCarone (Author), Betsy Lewin (Author)


With inspiring and educational stories, Scholastic's Hello Reader series caters to the spectrum of reading abilities among beginning readers. My First Hello Readers use basic words to reinforce phonics and sight vocabulary. The books at this level offer punch-out flash cards plus six additional pages of skill-building activities. Levels 1 - 4 combine a greater vocabulary and longer sentence length. Each book has an introductory letter from an education specialist guiding parents on how to help their children learn to read. Preschool - Kindergarten.

Chickenpox and Shingles Oh My!!: Shingles in a Nut Shell

Chickenpox and Shingles Oh My!!: Shingles in a Nut Shell


Chickenox is often poohpoohed as a childhood illness. Chickenpox returns to plague the adults as shingles. Shingles pain is what drives some suffers to insanity and for some to suicide. My mother had the shingles and suffered measureless pain months after. She died one year after the bout of shingles ( from a stroke) but the pain from shingles never let up till the minute she died. She was prescribed many pain medications that did not at all ease the misery. She became depressed, lost weight, and was generally debilitated. Yes, shingles can reduce one from vivacity, and robustness to a mere heap of blankets, throws, melancholy and medicines. This book gives a brief insight into the condition, what shingles is, what shingles looks like, the symptoms and how the condition is treated. ...

Chicken Pox: How To Cure Chickenpox Fast Naturally (Health, Skin, Diseases, Personal Health, Chickenpox, Chicken Pox Remedies, Chicken Pox Treatment, Chicken Pox Treatments)

Chicken Pox: How To Cure Chickenpox Fast Naturally (Health, Skin, Diseases, Personal Health, Chickenpox, Chicken Pox Remedies, Chicken Pox Treatment, Chicken Pox Treatments)


Chicken Pox

This book contains everything you need to know about how to take care of you or your loved one get through the miserable disease called chickenpox. Chickenpox can take weeks or even months to clear if you leave it to heal by itself. In this book, you will get tips and learn a few home remedies, as well as dietry advice that will significantly reduce your recovery period. If you follow the directions given in this book, you will be back to your normal routine in less than five days. Some of the home remedies have been known to cure chickenpox rash in as few as 3 days!

Here is a preview of the Table of Contents
* Chickenpox Causing Virus (Varicella-zoster)
* Chickenpox transmission and symptoms
* Chickenpox among the high-risk groups
*...

Chickenpox (My Health)

Chickenpox (My Health)
by Alvin Silverstein (Author), Laura Silverstein Nunn (Author), Virginia B. Silverstein (Author)


Book by Silverstein, Alvin, Nunn, Laura Silverstein, Silverstein, Virginia B.

Chickenpox (Rookie Read-About Health)

Chickenpox (Rookie Read-About Health)
by Sharon Gordon (Author)


Everything you always wanted to know about health -- from head to toe! This Rookie Read-About RM ... series encourages practicing good habits to maintain good health, while stressing the importance of prevention. The series discusses the relationship of each topic to the body, highlighting the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, skin, blood cells, and other important parts.

Homeopathy for Chickenpox

Homeopathy for Chickenpox
by Ann Sorrell BA (Hons) DSH (Author)


Homeopathy for Chickenpox is an easy-to-use practical guide for newcomers to homeopathy to self-prescribing safe, non-toxic homeopathic remedies for the common symptoms of the chickenpox virus in an otherwise healthy child. It does not discourage essential treatment for conditions for which medical supervision should be sought - parents and guardians are encouraged to make their own well-informed decisions regarding vaccinations. Homeopathy treats the person not the disease and homeopathic remedies have no side-effects and cannot weaken your child's immune system.

     Homeopathy for Chickenpox is written in an easy to follow style and recommends eight of the most effective homeopathic remedies for the symptoms of chickenpox in the 30c potency. Homeopathic remedy descriptions...

Homeopathy for Childhood Diseases: measles  mumps  chickenpox  whooping-cough (aude sapere Book 7)

Homeopathy for Childhood Diseases: measles mumps chickenpox whooping-cough (aude sapere Book 7)
by Ann Sorrell


Homeopathy for Childhood Diseases is an easy-to-use practical guide for newcomers and practitioners of homeopathy for prescribing safe, non-toxic homeopathic remedies for the common symptoms of the childhood diseases measles, mumps, chickenpox and whooping cough in otherwise healthy children. This book is a compilation of four earlier books in the aude sapere series by the same author. Homeopathy for Childhood Diseases does not discourage essential treatment for conditions for which medical supervision should be sought - parents and guardians are encouraged to make their own well-informed decisions regarding vaccinations. Homeopathy treats the person not the disease and homeopathic remedies have no side-effects and cannot weaken a child’s immune system.

Homeopathy for...

The Chickenpox Vaccine: A new epidemic of disease and corruption

The Chickenpox Vaccine: A new epidemic of disease and corruption
by Mark Orrin (Author), Gary S. Goldman Ph.D. (Editor)


"The Chickenpox Vaccine: A new epidemic of disease and corruption" is about behind-the-scene health issues and their effect on individuals in Antelope Valley, California-a geographically distinct region consisting primarily of two large cities, Palmdale and Lancaster, with a population of over 300,000. In 1995, the FDA licensed a vaccine to protect against a common childhood disease. Healthcare officials believed it was safe, when in fact, it had not been thoroughly tested. Dr. Goldman, who was studying the effect of the vaccine on the population, was encouraged to generate findings that would lead to publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals. All positive findings were published in a timely manner; however, when Dr. Goldman began to present deleterious outcomes, these seemed to be...

Emergency Medicine: Infectious Disease: Part 3: Chickenpox/Tick-Borne Disease (Audio-Digest Foundation Emergency Medicine Continuing Medical Book 28)

Emergency Medicine: Infectious Disease: Part 3: Chickenpox/Tick-Borne Disease (Audio-Digest Foundation Emergency Medicine Continuing Medical Book 28)


Purpose: Audio-Digest Foundation CME/CE activities are designed to provide its learners – physicians and other healthcare professionals – with continuing education that will help identify clinical problems in their practice settings, provide content to help to solve those problems, and increase their application of knowledge to practice.

Audio-Digest Emergency Medicine is specifically designed to provide the participant with state-of-the-art information, including, but not limited to, the care of patients presenting to the emergency department in such areas as:

Airway management
Asthma
Bite wounds
Burns
Cardiovascular emergencies
Domestic violence
Drug abuse
Envenomations
Infectious diseases
Ingested foreign...

Chickenpox (Head-To-Toe Health)

Chickenpox (Head-To-Toe Health)
by Elaine Landau (Author)


In this series, readers explore some typical health issues that affect children.

© 2017 BrightSurf.com