WASHINGTON – The 2-year-old son of a soldier deployed to Iraq is in critical condition after developing a reaction to his father's smallpox vaccination, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Saturday.
The child, being treated in a Chicago hospital, has a rare but very serious reaction to the vaccination site called Eczema vaccinatum, the CDC said. It is the first such case since vaccination against smallpox resumed in 2002, said CDC pox virus expert Dr. Inger Damon.
The toddler's father is a soldier vaccinated while on deployment to Iraq. The father was unexpectedly furloughed and evidently his wife and son touched the vaccine site and became infected, the CDC said.
"They can get a particularly noxious and sometimes fatal rash," Damon said in a telephone interview.
...The smallpox vaccine is made using a closely related virus called vaccinia. It is scratched into the surface of the skin, where it causes a mild infection that makes people much less susceptible to smallpox.
But because it uses a live virus, the vaccine can cause severe and sometimes deadly side effects. Eczema vaccinatum is one of them, although this is the first case to be reported since smallpox vaccinations resumed in the United States in 2002.read more here.