The Singapore Family Physician

Back to issue Vol 44 No. 4 - Update in Asthma Management

Neonatal Varicella Despite Maternal Immunity – A Case Report and What Can Be Learnt

Lum Grace
Goh Lee Gan
The Singapore Family Physician Vol 44 No 4 - Update in Asthma Management
43 - 46
1 September 2018
A 20-day-old previously well neonate presented with a 3-day vesiculopapular rash and was admitted to the paediatrics ward. He received extensive workup and treatment with IV acyclovir. The disease ran a mild, uncomplicated course, and recovery. His mother was found to be immune to varicella, having had the disease as a child. However, her immunity had not transferred to the neonate, which was unexpected. A literature review revealed that maternal varicella antibodies do not necessarily prevent infection but may help the infant avoid severe or complicated disease. A review of the management of neonatal varicella in both the immune and the non-immune mother which put the child at risk is also done. Vaccination of all susceptible young females prior to pregnancy will help to reduce the incidence of neonatal varicella in infants and is strongly encouraged. Vaccination of household contacts especially siblings, is also encouraged. Family Physicians should remain open to the diagnosis of neonatal varicella, even when the mother has a history having chickenpox as a child.