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Scand J Soc Med. 1990 Sep;18(3):171-4.

Varicella among immigrants from the tropics, a health problem.

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Asylum Department, Danish Red Cross, Copenhagen.


The incidence of varicella in Tamil refugees in Denmark was evaluated. Of 256 Tamils, 44% developed varicella infection in the first few months after arrival, representing 38% of the adults, and 68% of the children. During approximately four months' observation in Denmark, 75% of the refugees with no history of varicella developed a typical infection whereas only 2% of those with a history of varicella developed the disease. Tropical refugees with a negative history of varicella must therefore be considered nonimmune. Nine of 44 fertile women were pregnant. Two acquired the varicella infection during the first-trimester, none in relation to delivery. By organizing a health-check on arrival, prophylactic measures can reduce the health hazard of varicella infection in refugees from the tropics.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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