An Outbreak of Varicella among Schoolchildren in Taipei

Chao-Chih Lai; Szu-Ching Chen; Donald Dah-Shyong Jiang
January 2011
BMC Public Health;2011, Vol. 11 Issue 1, p226
Academic Journal
Background: The reported cases with varicella have not decreased and outbreaks of varicella among vaccinated children continue to be reported 9 years after the public vaccination program in Taipei. We investigated an outbreak to determine varicella vaccine coverage and effectiveness. Methods: An outbreak occurred in an elementary school which located in southern Taipei from April 2007 through May 2007. A retrospect cohort study was performed by using a self-administered questionnaire for parents. Results: Ten out of sixteen varicella cases were vaccinated. Overall vaccine coverage was 71.2%. The common reasons for not receiving varicella vaccine were that varicella vaccine was unavailable because the student didn't live in Taipei (29.4%) or the children could not be vaccinated due to certain illnesses (23.5%). The sensitivity and specificity of self-reported vaccination status was 0.900 (95% CI: 0.864, 0.935) and 0.611 (95% CI: 0.514, 0.701). The vaccine effectiveness was 69.3%-100.0% against any disease severity of varicella. Overall vaccine effectiveness against moderate or severe varicella was 85.5%. Attending cram school was associated with the risk of developing the varicella illness (RR: 13.39; 95% CI: 5.38, 33.31). Unvaccinated students tended to show moderate to severe (>50 lesions) afflictions of the disease (RR: 4.17; 95% CI: 1.15, 15.14). Conclusions: Because of the low vaccination coverage, varicella outbreaks continue to be reported in Taipei. Increasing vaccine coverage and second dose vaccination for increasing vaccine effectiveness may be considered.


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