Guidance

Varicella: the green book, chapter 34

Varicella immunisation information for public health professionals, including updates.

Documents

Varicella: the green book, chapter 34

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Green Book Chapter 34 Patch

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Details

Varicella zoster Immunoglobulin (VZIG) is a scarce blood product that is offered to individuals at high risk of severe chickenpox following an exposure.

Post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is offered to individuals at high risk of severe chickenpox following an exposure. This includes immunosuppressed individuals, young babies in their first week of life and pregnant women.

In response to a significant shortage of varicella zoster immunoglobulin (VZIG) in 2018 and a review by a Public Health England (PHE) convened expert working group, updated interim guidelines on PEP for high risk contacts have been published in June 2019. VZIG is recommended for susceptible women exposed in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy and neonates. For women exposed from 20 weeks, antiviral agents or VZIG can be used. Antiviral agents are recommended for post-exposure prophylaxis for immunosuppressed individuals.

See the detailed guide ‘Updated guidelines on post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) for varicella/shingles: advice for health professionals (June 2019)’.

Varicella (chickenpox) is an acute, highly infectious disease caused by the varicella zoster virus.

Chapter 34 update patches

Published 20 March 2013
Last updated 26 June 2019 + show all updates
  1. Added link to the updated guidelines on post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) for varicella/shingles: advice for health professionals (June 2019).

  2. Added link to the guidance document: Updated restrictions on use of VZIG during supply shortage: advice for health professionals

  3. Added details of VZIG restrictions due to shortage.

  4. Updated the contraindications and precautions sections for varicella.

  5. Updated the Body text to include a link to National Archives (chapter update patches) and NHS Choices.

  6. First published.