[Soroepidemiology of Varicella in Brazil - results of a prospective cross-sectional study].
Clemens SA., Azevedo T., Fonseca JC., Silva AC., Silveira TR., Clemens R.
OJECTIVES: Varicella has more serious consequences in adolescents and adults. Recent reports from Europe and Asia show an increasing number of adolescents and young adults being seronegative. As there is only limited data on varicella zoster virus (VZV) seroprevalence in Brazil and to facilitate the strategy for varicella vaccination we conducted a VZV seroprevalence study in Brazil. METHODS: This population-based, cross sectional seroepidemiology study was performed in 4 different regions of Brazil. The studied population was stratified according to gender, age and socioeconomic status. VZV IgG antibodies were analyzed by ELISA. RESULTS: 3,879 subjects aged 1-40 years were included into the study. The overall anti-VZV seropositivity rate across all age groups and centers in Brazil was 85.4%. There was a strong age relationship. Especially in the South East and South seroprevalence was low in the age group 1-5 years (44.5% and 57.8%, respectively) while in the North the rate was 88.9%. Overall, Varicella infection was independent of the socioeconomic level, but in the youngest age groups (1-10 years) seroprevalence rates were significantly lower in the high/medium socioeconomic class for most regions. Clinical history of chickenpox correlates well with anti- VZV seropositivity with a predictive value of 95.1% CONCLUSIONS: In preadolescence a substantial proportion of the Brazilian population is susceptible to Varicella infection, and a considerable part of the adolescents and young adults remain VZVseronegative and are thus also at risk.