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Review
, 33 (36), e252
eCollection

Implementation of Hospital Policy for Healthcare Workers and Patients Exposed to Varicella-Zoster Virus

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Review

Implementation of Hospital Policy for Healthcare Workers and Patients Exposed to Varicella-Zoster Virus

Si-Hyun Kim et al. J Korean Med Sci.

Abstract

Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) causes a highly contagious and generally benign, self-limited disease. However, in high-risk populations including immunocompromised patients, pregnant women, and neonates, VZV infection can be associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Healthcare-associated transmission of VZV occurs among healthcare workers (HCWs) and patients by airborne transmission or by direct contact with the index case. To minimize the risk of transmission in healthcare settings, all VZV-susceptible HCWs should be encouraged strongly to be immunized with the varicella vaccine. For post-exposure management, active immunization (varicella vaccine), passive immunization (varicella-zoster immune globulin) and/or antiviral agents, and isolation could be used in specific situations. To prevent the transmission of VZV infection in the hospital settings, the development and implementation of hospital policies for appropriate infection control is also warranted. This article reviews the general information and healthcare-associated transmission of VZV and summarizes the recommendations for the pre- and post-exposure management of HCWs and patients, in hospital settings.

Keywords: Hospitals, Isolation; Immune Globulin; Occupational Exposure; Vaccination; Varicella-Zoster Virus Infection.

Conflict of interest statement

Disclosure: The authors have no potential conflicts of interest to disclose.

Figures

Fig. 1
Fig. 1. Suggested algorithm for the evaluation and management after exposure to VZV in healthcare settings.
VZV = varicella-zoster virus, IVIG = intravenous immune globulin, VZIG = varicella-zoster immune globulin. aFor immunocompromised patients, a 7-day course of acyclovir or valacyclovir may be considered if both VZIG and IVIG are not available.

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