Objective: To study the outbreak of chickenpox in a military training center in Northern Pakistan.
Study Design: Cross sectional study.
Place and Duration of Study: Combined Military Hospital (CMH) Attock from 1st Nov 2007 to 30th Jan 2008.
Material and Methods: Patients with clinical suspicion of chickenpox during the outbreak were confirmed by laboratory tests including complement fixation test using commercial antigen of Virion/Serion of Germany and Immunoglobulin M for Varicella zoster virus by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay of Vircell, Spain. Moreover, direct immunofluorescence using BioRad kit was also done in patients with active lesions.
Results: A total of 102 cases occurred in the present outbreak. The age of the patients ranged from 16 to 35 years with a mean of 21.16 + 4.47 years. From a total of 102 patients, 60 (58.8%) were positive for antibodies against Varicella zoster virus by complement fixation test, 30 (29.4 %) were positive by ELISA and 12 (11.7%) were positive on Immunofluorescence testing. None of the admitted cases developed any complication and their hospital stay remained uneventful.
Conclusion: This outbreak of chickenpox in a military training center affected a considerable number of military recruits, led to a number of hospital admissions and had an adverse effect on training activities. There is a need to formulate a policy to offer vaccination against Varicella zoster virus to all unimmunized individuals before induction in the military to avoid unnecessary interruption in training and academic activities.
Chickenpox, Outbreak, Varicella.