How frequent is varicella-associated pneumonia in children?
Varicella is a frequent though mild infection in children, but it can cause important morbidity in adults. The most frequent complication in adults is varicella pneumonia. However, lower airway complications associated to varicella have been scarcely studied in children. We retrospectively reviewed the clinical records of the children hospitalized for varicella-associated pneumonia in the three public hospitals on the Island of Mallorca. We discovered that 17/213 (8%) children hospitalized for varicella were diagnosed of pneumonia. The rate of hospitalization for varicella complication due to pneumonia was 4.3 cases per 10,000 varicella infections. Only one patient was diagnosed of varicella pneumonia, which accounts for 0.3 cases per 10,000 varicella infections. Nine of 17 (53%) cases were classified as bacterial pneumonia. Statistical differences (p < 0.05) in the median time from rash (5.9 vs. 2.4 days) and fever (4.1 vs. 2.2 days) to admission were observed between bacterial and viral pneumonia. However, outcome differences measured by the median length of stay, need for oxygen, and admission to the intensive care unit were not observed. Varicella pneumonia is a very rare complication of varicella in children. Most of the lower airway infections in the course of varicella are associated to other co-infections.
- 1.American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) (2006) Varicella-zoster infections. In: Pickering LK, Baker CJ, Long SS, McMillan JA (eds) Red book: 2006 report of the committee on infectious diseases, 27th edn. AAP, Elk Grove Village, IL, pp 711–725Google Scholar
- 2.Amela Heras C, Pachón del Amo I (2000) Estudio seroepidemiológico: situación de las enfermedades vacunables en España. Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid. Available online at: http://www.isciii.es/htdocs/centros/epidemiologia/pdf/SEROEPIDEMIOLOGICO.pdf
- 6.Zenteno AD, Girardi BG, Fuentes OL, Pérez HMA, González VR, Abara ES, Díaz GJP, Kogan AR, Maggiolo MJ, Parietti BM, Pavón TD, Rubilar OL (2008) Utility of chest X-ray like approach to etiology of community acquired pneumonia in children. Rev Chilena Infectol 25:17–21Google Scholar
- 14.Rodríguez JC, Domínguez MJ, Miñambres E, Tejerina E, Holanda MS, González C, Quesada A (2003) Neumonía varicelosa en adultos: 30 casos. An Med Interna (Madrid) 20:612–616Google Scholar