|Mode of transmission||Airborne droplets, or contact with infected respiratory tract secretions or vesicular lesions.|
|Incubation period||Usually 14–16 days (range 10–21 days).|
|Period of communicability||From 1 to 2 days before onset of the rash until all lesions have crusted.|
|Burden of disease||Without immunisation, most people who reside in temperate climates have infection during childhood. |
Groups at risk of severe complications include pregnant women and their unborn babies, and immune-compromised individuals.
|Vaccines||Varicella vaccines (Varilrix; Varivax) and MMRV vaccine (ProQuad) are live attenuated vaccines.|
|Recommendations and funding||Recommended and funded (Varilrix) for certain high-risk groups and their contacts. |
Recommended but not funded for all susceptible children, adolescents and adults.
|Vaccine efficacy/effectiveness||High after 1 dose, but 2 doses prevent outbreaks.|
|Contraindications||Certain immune deficiency states – consult the child’s paediatrician for advice. |
Known systemic hypersensitivity to neomycin.
Active untreated TB.
|Adverse events to vaccine||Small increased risk of febrile seizures when MMRV is used for the first dose in toddlers.|
|Post-exposure prophylaxis||Zoster immunoglobulin (ZIG) is most effective if given as soon as possible after exposure but may be given up to 10 days post exposure. |
Varicella vaccine may be used for post-exposure prophylaxis if given within 5 days of exposure.