Steroids and chicken pox not a good mix
Children who have been treated with steroids and are exposed to chicken pox tend to have a more severe case of the virus, according to pediatric oncologists at Brenner Childrens Hospital, part of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.
New research published in the October issue of Pediatrics, says that children who are undergoing steroid treatments for diseases like childhood leukemia are at increased risk of contracting a more severe form of chicken pox, which may result in death.
"Steroids are used to treat leukemia and they suppress the immune system," said Thomas McLean, a pediatric oncologist at Brenner Childrens Hospital. "When a child is exposed to the varicella virus (the virus that causes chicken pox) around the time they are receiving steroid treatment, they are more likely to contract a more severe case of chicken pox."
McLean and his colleagues studied 697 patients with acute leukemia over a nine-year period. About 16 percent or 110 patients contracted chicken pox. Of those 110 patients, 54 had severe disease, including two deaths. Of the patients whose chicken pox was diagnosed within three weeks of taking steroids, 70 percent had severe infection whereas only 44 percent of those who had not received steroid therapy within three weeks had severe infection. Although the study was limited to patients with leukemia, the findings may apply to other conditions for which steroids are used, McLean said.
"One of the things we need to remember to ask before we prescribe steroid treatment is whether the child has had a recent exposure to chicken pox," McLean said. "If so, we recommend waiting until the incubation period has passed before beginning steroid therapy."
Steroids are a common and highly successful treatment for many childhood cancers, McLean said.
"We just need to make sure we dont mix the two," he added. "Steroids and the chicken pox virus dont go together. They are a bad combination."
Chicken pox is usually mild, but it can be serious and even life threatening. In 1995, a chickenpox vaccine was developed to help prevent the spread of the virus. Prior to the widespread use of the varicella vaccine, approximately 12,000 people were hospitalized for chicken pox each year in the United States and 100 died as a result of the disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"Since the introduction of the vaccine, the incidence of varicella has decreased steadily. We hope one day to eradicate the disease all together," McLean said. "I strongly encourage any parent whose child has not had chicken pox to get that child vaccinated."
Rae Bush | EurekAlert!
The most recent press releases about innovation >>>
Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:
HZI researchers developed a bacterial strain that can be used in cancer therapy
Salmonellae are dangerous pathogens that enter the body via contaminated food and can cause severe infections. But these bacteria are also known to target...
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...