Varicella-zoster virus susceptibility and primary healthcare consultations in Norway

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Abstract

© 2016 Rimseliene et al. Background: Currently Norway does not recommend universal varicella vaccination for healthy children. This study assessed susceptibility to varicella-zoster virus (VZV) in the Norwegian population for the first time. Methods: A national convenience sample of residual sera was tested for anti-VZV IgG by ELISA. We estimated age-specific seropositivity to VZV, controlling for sex and geographical distribution. We assessed differences between the proportions using the chi-square test and multivariable logistic regression. Seroprevalence data were compared to the varicella and herpes zoster-associated consultation rates in patients attending primary healthcare. Results: Although 73.2 % (n = 1,540) of all samples were positive for VZV, only 11.2 % of samples collected from 1-year-olds were seropositive. There was a sharp increase in the proportion of seropositive in 3- and 5-year-olds (40.2 % and 65.4 %, respectively). By the school entry age of 6 years, 69.8 % of children were seropositive. The age-specific annual consultation rate for varicella in primary healthcare peaked in 1-year-olds, with 2,627 cases per 100,000 population. The profile of varicella-related consultations in primary healthcare mirrored the VZV seropositivity profile. The herpes zoster-related consultations in primary healthcare peaked in people over 70 years of age (702 cases per 100,000 population). Conclusions: VZV seroprevalence in Norway was somewhat lower than in some other European countries. The age-specific varicella-related consultation rates in primary healthcare mirrored the age profile of VZV seroprevalence.

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Rimseliene, G., Vainio, K., Gibory, M., Salamanca, B. V., & Flem, E. (2016). Varicella-zoster virus susceptibility and primary healthcare consultations in Norway. BMC Infectious Diseases, 16(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12879-016-1581-4

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