Epidemiology and Infection

Research Article

The seroepidemiology of varicella zoster virus among pregnant Bangladeshi and white British women in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, UK

Y. S. TALUKDERa1 c1, G. KAFATOSa2, A. PINOT de MOIRAa1, J. AQUILINAa3, S. P. PARKERa1, N. S. CROWCROFTa4, D. W. G. BROWNa5 and J. BREUERa1

a1 Centre for Infectious Disease, Institute of Cell and Molecular Science, Queen Mary School of Medicine and Dentistry, London, UK

a2 Statistics Modelling and Bioinformatics Department, Health Protection Agency Centre for Infections, Colindale, London, UK

a3 Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel, London, UK

a4 Centre for Infections, Health Protection Agency, Colindale, London, UK

a5 Enteric, Respiratory & Neurological Virus Laboratory, Central Public Health Laboratory, Specialist & Reference Microbiology Division, Health Protection Agency Colindale, London, UK

SUMMARY

We investigated the comparative seroepidemiology of varicella zoster virus (VZV) in pregnant women of two ethnic groups, white British and Bangladeshi, living in an inner city area of London, United Kingdom. Women aged 16–45 years were recruited from antenatal clinics of the Royal London Hospital in the Borough of Tower Hamlets. Complete data were obtained from 275 white British and 765 Bangladeshi women. VZV antibody prevalence was 93·1% (95% CI 89·4–95·8) and 86·0% (95% CI 83·3–88·4) respectively. Women who were born in Bangladesh and lived there at least until the age of 15 years had the lowest odds of being immune (OR 0·37, 95% CI 0·22–0·63). This implies they will have an increased risk of varicella during pregnancy. Women arriving in the United Kingdom in adulthood should be screened routinely during pregnancy and vaccination offered postpartum if they are susceptible.

(Accepted March 07 2007)

(Online publication April 20 2007)

Correspondence:

c1 Author for correspondence: Ms. Y. S. Talukder, Centre for Infectious Disease, Institute of Cell and Molecular Science, Queen Mary School of Medicine and Dentistry, 4 Newark St, London E1 2AT, UK. (Email: ingrej@gmail.com)

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