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High seroprevalence of antibodies to varicella zoster virus in adult women in a tropical climate

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objectives  To determine whether the seroprevalence of antibodies to varicella zoster virus (VZV) in adults is similar to that reported in tropical populations elsewhere.

methods  We measured the seroprevalence of VZV IgG antibodies, using an enzyme immunoassay (EIA) in women attending an antenatal clinic in an urban centre in tropical Australia.

results  The overall seroprevalence of VZV antibodies in 298 women was 92% (95% CI 88–95), with no difference between women who spent their childhoods in the tropics and colleagues. None of the overseas-born women was seronegative.

conclusion  The seroprevalence of VZV antibodies in this tropical population in Australia is as high as that reported from temperate regions, suggesting that social and cultural factors and population mobility are more important determinants of age distribution of VZV immunity than tropical climate.
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Keywords: seroepidemiology; tropics; varicella

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Canberra, Australia 2: Formerly Centre for Disease Control, Territory Health Services, Northern Territory, Australia 3: Centre for Infectious Diseases & Microbiology, Westmead, Australia

Publication date: 2000-10-01

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