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Varicella (chickenpox) Outbreak in Peru

24 Oct 2016

The Peruvian Ministry of HealthLink has reported an outbreak of Varicella (chickenpox) in La Libertad region in Peru. The outbreak has been ongoing since September 2016, affecting 79 cases, of which 21 cases have developed complications (12 still admitted in hospital) and 5 deaths. The high number of deaths is unusual and may be attributed to socio economic factors in the outbreak area.

The distribution by regions: El Porvenir (6), Trujillo (4), Esperanza (3), Florencia de Mora (2), Victor Larco (1) Laredo (1). The rest of cases need further confirmation from authorities to be categorised by regions.

Advice to Travellers

  • The majority of UK born adult travellers will be immune, but those travelling with non immune children should be aware of the potential for infection to occur whilst overseas.

When to consider vaccination

  • Chickenpox vaccination is not routinely used in travellers.
  • Chickenpox vaccination is not part of the normal British Vaccination Schedule:
    • in the UK the vaccine is used in specific groups, e.g. non immune health care workers, non immune contacts of immunosuppressed individuals (e.g. siblings of a child with leukaemia).