, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 130-134

Immunity to Varicella Zoster Virus Among Young Adults: A Decline Prior to Widespread Uptake of Varicella Vaccines

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Abstract

Background:

The epidemiology of chickenpox in Israel is changing, mainly due to the increasing – but not universal – uptake of varicella vaccine.

Patients and Methods:

We conducted a seroprevalence study of varicella zoster virus (VZV) antibodies among 536 Israeli military recruits 18 years of age, on the basis of a representative sample of sera collected in 2003.

Results:

The overall seroprevalence rate was 94.6%, which was significantly lower than that observed in a similar population in 1992 (98.4%, p < 0.001). The rate was lower among subjects whose fathers had less than 12 years of schooling (89.8%, p = 0.033). No statistically significant differences were observed when data were stratified by sex, subject's level of education, or origin.

Conclusion:

This decline in the level of immunity must be considered when determining pre- and post-exposure vaccination policy among young adults in crowded environments.