Varicella-zoster immune globulin (VZIG), an immunoglobulin prepared from normal donor plasma selected for high titer of antibody to varicella-zoster virus (VZV), and zoster immune globulin (ZIG), prepared from the plasma of donors convalescing from herpes zoster, were compared in a double-blind, randomized clinical trial to determine their relative efficacy in protecting immunosuppressed children from severe varicella. VZV infection occurred in 49 (60.4%) of 81 recipients of VZIG and in 57 (68.6%) of 83 recipients of ZIG. These rates and the clinical severity of varicella were not significantly different; however, the subclinical infection rate was significantly higher in ZIG recipients (31.3% vs. 16.0%). This difference was accounted for by a subgroup of patients receiving immunosuppressive therapy for nonneoplastic diseases. Doubling the dose of VZIG administered reduced the rate of subclinical infection. These data indicate that VZIG can be used to protect immunosuppressed children from severe chicken pox.