Varicella in the neonatal ICU due to the Varicella vaccine Oka strain

I. Frantzis*, M. Messina, J. M. Taylor, K. Aschheim, H. Hu, J. C. Hairston, C. T. Lauren, A. Gershon, N. Feldstein, J. Orange, L. Saiman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Varicella vaccination of non-immune post-partum women is recommended to reduce the risk of chickenpox in mothers and their infants. Though rare, transmission of the varicella vaccine strain vOka can occur from recent vaccinees to non-immune contacts who usually develop mild chickenpox. METHODS/RESULTS: Here we describe an infant hospitalized in the neonatal ICU with vaccine-strain varicella due to transmission from their mother who received the varicella vaccine post-partum. We describe the infection prevention and control strategies implemented to prevent further transmission. CONCLUSION: Vaccine-strain varicella transmission from mother to infant is a rare event and its occurrence in the neonatal ICU setting can be challenging. Anticipatory guidance for mothers vaccinated in the postpartum period and support of parents of an infected infant are recommended.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-182
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2023


  • Varicella
  • chickenpox
  • neonatal ICU
  • neonate
  • oka strain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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