Effect of zoster immunoglobulin for varicella prophylaxis in the newborn

Scand J Infect Dis. 1985;17(4):343-7. doi: 10.3109/13813458509058773.


Zoster immunoglobulin (ZIG) was given for prophylaxis to 95 neonates born to mothers with perinatal varicella. The treatment had no influence on the clinical attack rate; 48 (50%) of the children developed varicella. However, the ZIG treatment clearly influenced the course of the disease for newborns at particular risk, i.e. when maternal varicella developed within 4 days before and 2 days after delivery. Of 41 such neonates, 21 (51%) contracted varicella with an incubation mean time of 11 days. 13 of the 21 developed a very mild chickenpox (no fever, less than or equal to 20 pocks), 6 had a mild to normal disease, and 2 (10%) had more severe infections; none died or got sequelae after the disease. These results should be compared with the expected rate of complications in non-treated neonates in the defined risk group, where the mortality among those contracting varicella has been reported to be as high as about 30%.

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Viral / therapeutic use*
  • Antibody Formation
  • Chickenpox / immunology
  • Chickenpox / mortality
  • Chickenpox / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Herpesvirus 3, Human / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / immunology*


  • Antibodies, Viral