Vaccination against chickenpox causes a varicella-like rash in up to 5% of healthy children and 50% of children with leukemia. The vaccine may establish latency and reactivate to cause herpes zoster, albeit more rarely than wild-type virus. All vaccine preparations are composed of a mixture of varicella-zoster virus strains that show genotypic variation at several loci. We have shown, by DNA sequencing of 40 polymorphic loci, that viruses sampled from vesicles in varicella-like and herpes zoster rashes are single clones. This finding suggests that, between the time of inoculation of the vaccine and development of rash, selection of single strains occurs. The results have general implications for the pathogenesis of varicella-zoster virus.
J. Infect. Dis.
Rashes occurring after immunization with a mixture of viruses in the Oka vaccine are derived from single clones of virus.