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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 37  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 279-283

Containment of varicella outbreak in intensive care unit of a tertiary level hospital

1 Department of Hospital Administration, PGIMER, Chandigarh, India
2 Department of Virology, PGIMER, Chandigarh, India
3 Department of Anaesthesia, PGIMER, Chandigarh, India
4 Department of Internal Medicine, PGIMER, Chandigarh, India
5 Department of General Surgery, PGIMER, Chandigarh, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Nidhi Bhatia
Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, PGIMER, Chandigarh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/joacp.JOACP_542_20

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Background: Varicella–Zoster virus (VZV) infection in healthcare organizations, especially in intensive care units (ICU), having admitted immunocompromised patients, is of serious concern as well as poses threat to healthcare workers working in such critical areas. The present report defines the transmission and infection control measures initiated to curtail VZV infection spread in the trauma ICU of a tertiary care hospital of North India. Outbreak Report: At the infection outset, there were 12 patients admitted in ICU and 54 healthcare workers were posted to manage these critical patients. After confirmation of VZV infection, all susceptible patients as well as healthcare workers were quarantined and fresh intake of patients was restricted. Out of the total healthcare workers, 14 (25.92%) were found susceptible (as per protective VZV IgG titers) and were vaccinated. Of the 12 patients admitted in the ICU, six patients were discharged and sent home directly, four patients expired due to their critical disease state, one patient left against medical advice, and one patient remained admitted in ICU till the incubation period was over. Epidemiologically, line listing for index case reporting was done. The efficacy of control measures was re-evaluated to strengthen existing infection control practices and general measures viz. strict hand washing, adherence to aseptic protocols and intensification of environmental cleaning. Conclusions: Established varicella surveillance measures ensure VZV outbreaks are identified in a timely manner and control measures implemented to prevent further transmission. Also, vaccination policy among HCWs is the utmost requirement despite having huge financial implications.

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