Varicella is a highly infectious viral disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV). Reinfection rates among susceptible people with household contact to the virus may approach 90%. VZV causes a systemic infection that usually results in lifetime immunity to the virus for those exposed. It is rare for a healthy person to exhibit symptoms following reexposure to the virus.1
Those most at risk for severe disease and complications from varicella are immunocompromised patients, neonates whose mothers have signs and symptoms of varicella around the time of delivery, premature neonates exposed postnatally, and pregnant women.2
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) can provide more information on varicella.
Postexposure Prophylaxis for Varicella
The CDC recommends varicella-zoster immune globulin (VZIG) for postexposure prophylaxis of varicella for persons at high risk for severe disease who lack evidence of immunity to varicella. GamaSTAN may be used to attempt to modify varicella in susceptible high-risk individuals when VZIG is not available.1,3