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Incubation of Varicella-Zoster Virus

Am J Dis Child. 1984;138(12):1155-1156. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1984.02140500059025.
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To the Editor.—The report by Gustafson et al1 reemphasized the perplexing problems that varicella-zoster virus (VZV) create for infection containment within hospitals, particularly the risk posed by medical care providers with community-acquired varicella. Screening for susceptibility and the institution of cohorting, which Gustafson et al suggested, has previously been shown to be a successful means of infection containment.2 Either the fluorescent antibody to membrane antigen (FAMA) test or enzymelinked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for susceptibility screening are equivalently effective.3,4 However, their suggestion that VZV immunity is implied by the failure to manifest varicella "despite prolonged close contact to the household patients" is inaccurate. Thus, of 16 persons with prior household exposure to VZV but without subsequent clinical illness, we found nine to be susceptible, and four of the nine subsequently manifested varicella after hospital exposure.2

We would take exception with the recommendation to use ten to


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