Postpartum varicella vaccination: is the vaccine virus excreted in breast milk?
ABSTRACT To evaluate whether the varicella vaccine virus is detected in breast milk after vaccination of breast-feeding women and whether there is serologic evidence of exposure of the infant to varicella virus after maternal vaccination.
We enrolled women identified as varicella seronegative during routine prenatal screening at Group Health Cooperative. Participants received the first dose of varicella vaccine at least 6 weeks postpartum and the second dose at least 4 weeks later. They collected ten breast milk samples after each vaccine dose. Breast milk samples were tested for varicella zoster virus by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Serum specimens were collected from the mothers 1 month after each vaccine dose, and peripheral blood from their infants was collected onto filter spots 1 month after the mother's second dose. These samples were tested for varicella immunoglobulin (Ig) G by whole-virus enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), or by the more sensitive glycoprotein ELISA. When possible, filter spots from the infants were also tested by PCR for the presence of varicella zoster virus deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).
Twelve women were enrolled; all seroconverted after the first vaccine dose. Varicella DNA was not detected by PCR in any of the 217 postvaccination breast milk specimens. None of the infants was seropositive. Samples from six infants were tested for varicella zoster virus DNA by PCR, and all were negative.
We found no evidence of varicella vaccine virus excretion in breast milk. These findings suggest that postpartum vaccination of varicella-susceptible women need not be delayed because of breast-feeding.
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ABSTRACT: To estimate the rate of congenital varicella zoster virus syndrome in neonates born to women developing varicella zoster virus infections during pregnancy. Pregnant women with clinical varicella zoster virus infection were enrolled at ten perinatal centers. Maternal and fetal immunoglobulin (Ig) G and IgM by fluorescent antibody confirmed 74.3% of cases. Specialists examined neonates at 0-6 months, 7-18 months, and 19-30 months after delivery to detect abnormalities of their eyes, hearing, and physical and developmental features. A hierarchical set of criteria was used to define congenital varicella syndrome. A jury of four investigators assigned the classification of all findings. In 362 women enrolled from 1993 to 1996, 15 had herpes zoster, and 347 had primary varicella zoster virus infection. Varicella zoster virus affected 140 women (38.7%) in the first trimester, 122 (33.7%) in the second trimester, and 100 (27.6%) in the third trimester. Five twin pairs were included. Only one case (0.4%) of definite congenital varicella syndrome was found, a 3360-g female infant having a left retinal macular lesion with typical skin scars after maternal varicella at 24 weeks. The maternal blood sample at birth was negative for IgG antibodies to toxoplasmosis and cytomegalovirus. Two cases involved fetal death at 20 weeks and fetal hydrops at 17 weeks after maternal varicella at 11 and 5 weeks, respectively. We found no cases of limb hypoplasia, microcephalus, or cataract. The frequency of congenital varicella syndrome is very low (0.4%) in a prospectively studied cohort. Eye examinations of exposed infants had a low yield.Obstetrics and Gynecology 09/2002; 100(2):260-5. · 4.80 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: A new method was developed to identify and differentiate varicella-zoster virus (VZV) wild-type strains from the attenuated varicella Oka vaccine strain. The PCR technique was used to amplify a VZV open reading frame (ORF) 62 region. A single specific amplicon of 268 bp was obtained from 71 VZV clinical isolates and several laboratory strains. Subsequent digestion of the VZV ORF 62 amplicons with SmaI enabled accurate strain differentiation (three SmaI sites were present in amplicons of vaccine strain VZV, compared with two enzyme cleavage sites for all other VZV strains tested). This method accurately differentiated the Oka vaccine strain from wild-type VZV strains circulating in countries representing all six populated continents. Moreover, the assay more reliably distinguished wild-type Japanese strains from the vaccine strain than did previously described methods.Journal of Clinical Microbiology 10/2000; 38(9):3156-60. · 4.07 Impact Factor