Varicella-zoster virus infection in the Infectious Diseases Hospital, Sri Lanka

U Welgama, C Wickramasinghe, Jennifer Perera

Abstract

Objectives To determine the morbidity and mortality patterns of varicella and risk factors affecting its outcome, and the facilities available at the Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH), Sri Lanka.

Methods A retrospective study on all patients admitted with varicella-zoster virus (VZV) infection to the IDH from August 2000 to July 2001. Data were collected from the hospital records.

Results Among the 1690 patients admitted during the study period, 1090 (64.9%) were due to VZV infection. Nine hundred and eighty nine (90.7%) had varicella and 101 (9.3%) herpes zoster. Common complications were secondary bacterial infection (62.1%), neurological complications (3.4%), pneumonia (9.1%) and carditis (1.01%). They were significantly commoner in patients with coexisting diseases. Hospital stay was significantly shorter in patients who received early aciclovir, which was not available on a regular basis. Forty one patients died and mortality was highest in the elderly. The commonest cause of death was pneumonia.

Conclusions Varicella related complications are high in patients with coexisting diseases. Mortality rates are higher than reported elsewhere. Health care facilities available at IDH are quite inadequate, and should be improved.

(Index words: Health care facilities, morbidity, mortality, varicella related complications)

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4038/cmj.v48i4.3327

CMJ 2003; 48(4): 119-121

Keywords

Health care facilities; morbidity; mortality; varicella related complications
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