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Korean J healthc assoc Infect Control Prev 2021; 26(2): 83-88

Published online December 31, 2021 https://doi.org/10.14192/kjicp.2021.26.2.83

Copyright © Korean Society for Healthcare-associated infection Control and Prevention

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Control and Prevention of Varicella in Healthcare Settings

Sun Young Cho

Division of Infectious Diseases, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea

Correspondence to: Sun Young Cho
E-mail: sunyoung81.jo@samsung.com
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9307-2369

Received: November 22, 2021; Revised: December 8, 2021; Accepted: December 9, 2021

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0).

Abstract

The varicella-zoster virus (VZV) causes both varicella and herpes zoster. Although varicella usually causes a mild infection in healthy children, it is highly contagious and can trigger a serious infection in high-risk populations, such as immunocompromised individuals, pregnant women, and neonates. Nosocomial transmission of VZV can be attributed to the delay in diagnosis and failure to implement prompt control measures. Early detection and isolation of patients with varicella are important in healthcare settings. The management of individuals exposed to VZV should take into consideration the type of exposure, the individual’s evidence of immunity, and host-immune status. Healthcare workers (HCWs) are not only at a higher risk of VZV infection from patients but can also in turn spread it to high-risk patients. Therefore, all HCWs should be screened for VZV immunity and, if found susceptible, should be vaccinated. This article focuses on managing cases of varicella or herpes zoster in healthcare settings to prevent nosocomial transmission of VZV.

Keywords: Chickenpox, Herpes zoster, Varicella-zoster virus infection

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