Seroprevalence of varicella zoster virus in Colombo district, Sri Lanka

Academic Article


  • Objective: To determine the seroprevalence of varicella zoster virus (VZV) antibodies among the population residing in the Colombo district of Sri Lanka. Methods: A cross-sectional population-based study was conducted which included 1 258 participants. Blood samples were collected and questionnaires administered to obtain sociodemographic information and history of varicella and/or herpes zoster. Serum samples were assayed for VZV IgG antibodies using a commercial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay kit. Results: Overall, the seroprevalence was 54.2% (95% CI = 51.5% 57.0%). Children below 1 year of age were seronegative, and only about 20.0% of children between 1 and 10 years of age were seropositive. Seropositivitiy increased with age and by the age of 40 years 74.3% were seropositive. Among women of childbearing age, the overall seroprevalence was about 62.0% (95% CI = 57.7%-66.1%) but was low 37.0% in the 15-19 age group. Conclusion: In this population, 45.8% lacked natural immunity against varicella. Of women of childbearing age, 39.9% lacked immunity and in the subgroup of women 15-19 years of age, 63.0% women lacked immunity. In light of the country's success with the control and high coverage of other vaccine preventable diseases and that the vaccine is available in the private sector, the inclusion of varicella vaccine in the national immunization program may be considered.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Munasingha HM; Amarasinghe A; Malavige NG; Sathiakumar N
  • Start Page

  • 53
  • End Page

  • 57
  • Volume

  • 11
  • Issue

  • 1