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Pediatrics. 1993 Aug;92(2):219-22.

Postexposure prophylaxis of varicella in family contact by oral acyclovir.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Fujita Health University School of Medicine, Toyoake, Japan.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine whether varicella can be prevented by administration of oral acyclovir (ACV) during the incubation period of the disease.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS:

ACV (40 or 80 mg/kg daily in four divided doses) was given orally to 25 exposed infants and children for 7 days, starting 7 to 9 days after exposure from the index case in their families. Their clinical features were compared with those of 25 age-matched control subjects who had been exposed in their families but did not receive ACV. A fluorescent antibody to membrane antigen assay was used for determination of the antibody to varicella-zoster virus, and a nested polymerase chain reaction method was used for detection of viremia.

RESULTS:

Among the 25 who received ACV, 4 (16%) developed the disease and 1 (4%) had a fever. On the other hand, all of 25 control subjects developed the disease and 17 (68%) had a fever. The incidence of fever and the severity of skin rashes were significantly lower (P < .01) in the subjects who received oral ACV than in the control group. Seroconversion was observed in 84% of subjects who received ACV. In some cases, varicella-zoster virus DNA was detected by polymerase chain reaction amplification in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from blood drawn approximately 14 days after exposure.

CONCLUSIONS:

Varicella can be prevented or modified by administration of oral ACV late in the incubation period.

Comment in

PMID:
8393173
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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