Seroprevalence of Varicella Among Children and Adolescents in Valencia, Spain

This study assessed the seroprevalence of varicella antibodies in children and adolescents in Spain and evaluated the reliability of two methods for detecting susceptible individuals: (1) parental-reported history of varicella and (2) medically-documented histories maintained by the pediatrician. A total of 186 children (6 to 15 years of age) were recruited in 13 pediatric offices of Valencia, Spain. A brief case report form was completed including previous history of varicella referred by the parents, and a 5 mL blood sample was obtained. The pediatrician medical file was reviewed for antecedent of varicella. The overall prevalence of varicella antibodies was 84% and 88% in the 6-9 years and 10-15 years age brackets, respectively. The predictive value of a negative history of varicella disease was 48% by parental recall (52% "false negative"), and only 26% by medical record (74% "false negative"). However, the positive predictive value of a positive parental reported history or a positive medically-documented history was 95%. The most effective strategy for varicella vaccination of older children and adolescents in Spain will be to immunize those individuals with a lack of positive (unknown or negative) history of disease.
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