Chickenpox is extremely contagious. Over 90% of unvaccinated people become infected, but infection occurs at different ages in different parts of the world - over 80% of people have been infected by the age of 10 years in the USA, the UK, and Japan, and by the age of 20-30 years in India, South East Asia, and the West Indies.
METHODS AND OUTCOMES:
We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical questions: What are the effects of interventions to prevent chickenpox in healthy adults and children? What are the effects of interventions to prevent chickenpox in children exposed prenatally? What are the effects of interventions to prevent chickenpox in immunocompromised adults and children? What are the effects of treatments for chickenpox in healthy adults and children? What are the effects of treatments for chickenpox in immunocompromised adults and children? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library and other important databases up to March 2007 (Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically, please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
We found 13 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.
In this systematic review we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: acyclovir, famciclovir, live attenuated vaccine, valaciclovir, varicella zoster immunoglobulin, and zoster immunoglobulin.
BMJ clinical evidence, Aug 1;2007. pii: 0912.