Challenges With Controlling Varicella in Prison Settings: Experience of California, 2010 to 2011

Jessica Leung, Adriana S. Lopez, Elena Tootell, Nikki Baumrind, Janet Mohle-Boetani, Bruce Leistikow, Kathleen H. Harriman, Christopher P. Preas, Giorgio Cosentino, Stephanie R. Bialek, Mona Marin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


This article describes the epidemiology of varicella in one state prison in California during 2010 and 2011, control measures implemented, and associated costs. Eleven varicella cases were reported, of which nine were associated with two outbreaks. One outbreak consisted of three cases and the second consisted of six cases with two generations of spread. Among exposed inmates serologically tested, 98% (643/656) were varicella-zoster virus seropositive. The outbreaks resulted in > 1,000 inmates exposed, 444 staff exposures, and > $160,000 in costs. The authors documented the challenges and costs associated with controlling and managing varicella in a prison setting. A screening policy for evidence of varicella immunity for incoming inmates and staff and vaccination of susceptible persons has the potential to mitigate the impact of future outbreaks and reduce resources necessary to manage cases and outbreaks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)292-301
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Correctional Health Care
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • chicken pox
  • costs
  • outbreak
  • prison
  • varicella

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Community and Home Care


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