Hospitalization for varicella in central Israel

Acta Paediatr. 1999 Nov;88(11):1279-83. doi: 10.1080/080352599750030437.


In order to determine the impact of chickenpox on the general population, we conducted a retrospective study in four medical centres in central Israel. Hospital records of 182 patients discharged with the diagnosis of varicella during a 3-y period were reviewed. The patients' mean age was 7.9 y. A total of 14 patients (8%) were immunocompromised. Bacterial skin or soft tissue infection was the most common complication (32%). Other complications included gastrointestinal manifestations (14%), pneumonia (12%), febrile seizures (10%) and CNS complications (9%). Twenty-one percent of patients were discharged with the diagnosis of uncomplicated varicella. One patient died, one underwent liver transplantation for liver failure and four had persistent neurological sequelae. Forty-four patients (24%) received acyclovir for an average duration of 5.7 d. The mean hospital stay was 4.3 d; it was significantly longer for patients with CNS complications (8 d). We estimate that the hospitalization rate in Israel is 1/285 cases of chickenpox. While mortality from varicella was found to be relatively rare, the economic burden of this infection in Israel is quite substantial.

MeSH terms

  • Age Distribution
  • Chickenpox / complications*
  • Chickenpox / diagnosis
  • Chickenpox / epidemiology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Israel / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution
  • Software
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Survival Rate