A three-year-old boy who was not vaccinated against chicken pox was rushed to Soroka University Medical Center in Beersheba last week in serious condition with complications from the childhood disease. Only recently did the Health Ministry introduce the chicken pox vaccine into the basket of health services, and it is available free to all children born after January 2007 and can be purchased in pharmacies for those born after that date. The boy, who lives with his family on a kibbutz in the South, suffered from a serious secondary infection of his soft tissues caused by virulent streptococcal bacteria. Although this type of bacteria is usually harmless, the combination with chicken pox can be dangerous. The child had difficulty breathing and suffered from necrosis in the groin area. The affected tissues were removed in an operation and he was put on intensive antibiotic therapy in the pediatric intensive care unit. A week at Soroka improved his condition, and he was moved to the pediatric surgery department and then sent home. His mother said there was an outbreak of chicken pox at the kibbutz, but that "for ideological reasons" the children were not vaccinated. "Today we understand that the vaccination of children is important. If we had done it, he probably would not have had to be taken to the hospital." Prof. Dudi Greenberg, a senior pediatric infectious disease specialist at Soroka, said "chicken pox is regarded as a simple children's disease, but that is not so. About a third of children who are infected and hospitalized suffer from complications from infections of the pox. Strep bacteria are one cause of complications, as these bacteria enter the bloodstream and can cause serious infections. The best way to prevent possible infection is vaccination. It is very important for parents to get their children of all ages - even older ones - vaccinated," Greenberg said.