Seroprevalence of varicella antibodies among pregnant women in Lyon-France

Eur J Epidemiol. 2007;22(6):405-9. doi: 10.1007/s10654-007-9136-z. Epub 2007 May 30.


The purpose of the study was to calculate the seroprevalence of immunity to the varicella-zoster virus (VZV) infection and to evaluate the positive predictive value (PPV) and the negative predictive value (NPV) of the self-reported history of VZV infection in pregnant women. A cross sectional study was conducted in 18 private medical analysis laboratories. Information on socio-demographic characteristics and past history of varicella or zoster were collected using a questionnaire. Blood samples were obtained to determine the serological levels of past exposure to VZV. Overall, 486 pregnant women were recruited. The seroprevalence of VZV antibodies was 98.8%. Six women were seronegative, of whom four were primiparous. The PPV was high (99.5%) while the NPV was only 10.3%. The PPV is a reliable marker of prior VZV infection. In contrast, a negative history does not predict lack of immunity and should be completed by serological analysis which might be introduced to routine antenatal blood tests.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood*
  • Chickenpox / immunology
  • Chickenpox / virology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • France / epidemiology
  • Herpes Zoster / immunology
  • Herpes Zoster / prevention & control
  • Herpes Zoster / virology
  • Herpesvirus 3, Human / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / immunology
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / prevention & control
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / virology
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • Socioeconomic Factors


  • Antibodies, Viral