The incidence of chickenpox in Singapore has been increasing since 1984. A seroepidemiological survey was conducted in 1989-90 to determine the prevalence of varicella-zoster virus-specific IgG antibody in the healthy population in Singapore aged from 6 months to over 45 years. Overall, 42.8% of 500 samples assayed qualitatively by the ELISA method were positive, with less than one fifth of those aged under 15 years and less than half of the 15-24 year olds possessing antibody to the virus. However, antibody prevalence increased markedly to between 86% and 98% in those over 25 years of age. No significant sex or ethnic difference was noted. The survey confirmed the low herd immunity and the higher susceptibility of the young adult population to varicella infection in a tropical city compared to that of temperate countries.