Objective: To establish the incidence and severity of congenital and neonatal varicella in Australia.
Methodology: Demographic and clinical details were obtained by postal questionnaire regarding cases notified to the Australian Paediatric Surveillance Unit by over 930 participating clinicians in 1995-97 inclusive.
Results: Seven cases of congenital varicella (1: 107 000 pregnancies/year) followed maternal infection at 8-26 weeks: five had defects, two did not. Four of the seven infants with congenital varicella developed herpes zoster in the first 15 months of life. Forty-four infants had neonatal varicella (1: 17 000 pregnancies/year).
Conclusion: : There is an ongoing, albeit low, incidence of congenital and neonatal varicella in Australia.