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Bone Marrow Transplant. 2000 Jan;25(2):167-72.

Incidence, risk factors and outcome of varicella-zoster virus infection in children after haematopoietic stem cell transplantation.

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Division of Haematology and Oncology, Department of Paediatrics, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong.


We report a retrospective analysis of VZV infection after haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) in children. Thirty-three (30%) of the total 109 children who were transplanted during a 7 year period developed post-transplant VZV infection. Twenty-four of these 33 (73%) children had VZV infection within 1 year following HSCT. The cumulative incidences of post-transplant VZV infection at 1 and 5 years were 26% and 45%, respectively. The positive and negative predictive values of pretransplant VZV serology in recipients on the development of HZ following HSCT were 39% and 88%, respectively. Pretransplant VZV seropositivity in recipients was the only risk factor for post-transplant herpes zoster (HZ) infection on multivariate analysis. All patients responded to acyclovir. The median duration of VZV infection was 5 days. Three (11%) and one (3%) children with HZ developed visceral dissemination and post-herpetic neuralgia, respectively. No mortality was directly attributed to VZV infection. VZV infection remains a major cause of morbidity in children after HSCT. Further studies are warranted to evaluate the potential use of VZV vaccine in these children. Bone Marrow Transplantation (2000) 25, 167-172.

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