Varicella zoster antibodies after herpes zoster, varicella and multiple sclerosis

R T Ross, L E Nicolle, M R Dawood, M Cheang, C Feschuk
Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences. le Journal Canadien des Sciences Neurologiques 1997, 24 (2): 137-9

BACKGROUND: We previously showed that Manitoba Hutterites seek physician care for varicella zoster virus infection significantly less than non-Hutterites. The current study was undertaken to measure varicella zoster virus seroprevalence for Hutterite and non-Hutterite controls.

METHODS: Blood was obtained from 315 Hutterites and 259 similar age and sex controls at the time of blood donations to The Canadian Red Cross Society. The controls were from the same or a contiguous postal code area and were collected at the same time as the Hutterite samples. The immune status of the specimens was determined by the ELISA method (enzyme linked immunosorbent assay).

RESULTS: Twenty-eight per cent of 315 Hutterites had no immunity and an additional 25% had only marginal immunity. Among the 259 controls, 10% had no immunity and an additional 10% had only marginal immunity (p < .0001).

CONCLUSIONS: Manitoba Hutterites have significantly decreased seroprevalence to varicella zoster virus infection. This study of serum varicella zoster virus antibodies verifies a previous population based study that demonstrated the relative rarity of varicella and herpes zoster among a particular population group.

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