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Uruguayan Medical Journal

ISSN: 1688-0390

Vol.31 - Nº 3 - Set. 2015

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Clinical-epidemiological study of varicella in children in the department of Paysandú in 2013

Rev Med Urug 2015; 31: 179-187
Full text (spanish) |  Full text (spanish) (New windows, pdf) | Abstract


Introduction: in spite of the universal varicella vaccination at one year of age (1999), there are still modified varicella outbreaks in our country.

Objectives: 1) To perform a clinical-epidemiological description of an unusually high number of cases of varicella in children under 15 years old in all educational centers of the Department of Paysandú, Uruguay, during an eight month period. 2) To compare the clinical and epidemiological characteristics of infected children.

Method: descriptive, observational and retrospective study of varicella cases in children under 15 years old, reported in the educational centers of Paysandú, from March through October, 2013.

Results: 151 cases were identified. Ninety seven per cent occurred in vaccinated children. Average age was 7.4 years old. There were no severe cases. The largest number of lesions was associated to older patients and a higher persistence of temperature (p<0,05). Frequency of complications was low (4%). It was responsible for 995 days of school absenteeism. Four per cent of them were in contact with relatives who presented risk factors for severe varicella. Only one third of cases were reported to the Ministry of Public Health.

Conclusions: over 80% of cases occurred in children older than 5 years old. Symptoms were more intense and caused greater absenteeism in children older than 10 years old. There were non-severe cases, although they were in contact with relatives who presented risk factors for severe varicella. Low reporting rates to the Ministry of Health may underestimate the official health figures. A second dose could be useful to reduce the burden of disease in the outbreaks of vaccinated children, this measure agreeing with the decision made in 2014 by the health authorities, when they included the second dose upon 5 years of age in the mandatory vaccination program.