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Seroprevalence Of Varicella Zoster Antibodies Among Children With Malnutrition, Malignancies And Hiv Infection

B Admani
WM Macharia
F Were


Objective: To determine the seroprevalence of varicella zoster in paediatric patients at a high risk of developing complications.
Design: A cross-sectional study.
Setting: Paediatric general wards at Kenyatta National Hospital.
Subjects: Children with malignancies, severe malnutrition and were HIV positive.
Interventions: The sample size was calculated at 147 subjects. Venous samples were
tested for varicella zoster virus (VZV) antibodies using enzyme immunosorbent assay (ELISA) technique at Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) laboratories, The data were anaIysed using the SPSS software and presented in form of tables and graphs. The prevalence of VZV antibodies was determined and 95% confidence interval computed.
Results: The overall seroprevalence of VZV antibodies in the three groups of children
studied was 23.6% (95% CI= 17.4, 29.8), The seroprevalence of VZV antibodies in those
with malignancies and severe malnutrition was 24.1 and 25.0% respectively. About
22% of HIV positive children had protective levels of VZV antibodies. Though the
seroprevalence increased with age, it was not significantly associated with area of
residence, size of residence, family size or income.
Conclusions: The low prevalence of protective VZV antibodies among children with
severe malnutrition, malignancies and HIV infection children at Kenyatta National
Hospital warrants routine immunisation of the high-risk population.

East African Medical Journal Vol. 85 (10) 2008: pp. 480-486

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