Hospitalization due to varicella in the Netherlands
1 Department of Epidemiology and Surveillance, Centre for Infectious Disease Control, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Postbox 1, 3720 BA Bilthoven, the Netherlands
2 Department of Pediatric Immunology and Infectious diseases, University Medical Centre Utrecht (UMCU), Postbox 85090, 3508 AB Utrecht, the Netherlands
BMC Infectious Diseases 2011, 11:85 doi:10.1186/1471-2334-11-85Published: 5 April 2011
In the Netherlands, incidence of physician's consultations and hospitalizations for varicella is low compared to other countries. Better knowledge about the severity of varicella among Dutch hospitalized patients is needed. Therefore, a medical record research was conducted among hospitalized patients with diagnosis varicella.
Hospital admissions due to varicella in 2003-2006 were obtained from the National Medical Register. Retrospectively, additional data were retrieved from the medical record of patients hospitalized with varicella in 23 Dutch hospitals using a standardized form. Analyses were performed using descriptive statistics.
The study population (N = 296) was representative for all varicella admissions in the Netherlands (N = 1,658) regarding age, sex, duration of admission and type of diagnosis. Complications were recorded in 76% of the patients (37% had at least one relatively severe complication). Bacterial super infections of skin lesions (28%), (imminent) dehydration (19%), febrile convulsions (7%), pneumonia (7%) and gastroenteritis (7%) were most frequently reported. No varicella-related death occurred within the study population and 3% of the patients had serious rest symptoms.
It is not likely that the severity of varicella among hospitalized patients in the Netherlands differs from other countries. A considerable part of the varicella complications among hospitalized patients was rather moderate and can be treated effectively, although in a third of the hospitalized cases with complications, severe complications occurred. These data are relevant in the decision-making process regarding whether or not to introduce routine varicella vaccination in the Netherlands.