Live attenuated varicella vaccine was administered to healthy varicella-susceptible adults. Of 187 adults immunized with the Oka strain of vaccine, seroconversion to varicella-zoster virus (VZV) occurred in 82% after one dose and in 94% after two doses. Adverse effects were unusual. After immunization, one subject developed mild zoster caused by wild-type virus. Twelve adults developed a mild breakthrough case of chickenpox after exposure to VZV. Protection after household exposure was observed in nine (56%) of 16; however, the illness in all seven patients with breakthrough illness was modified, with an average of only 24 vesicles. Subjects seropositive at household exposure were unlikely to develop a breakthrough illness. Approximately 25% of vaccinees who seroconverted lost detectable antibodies to VZV after vaccination, but even those who became seronegative were partially protected. Varicella vaccine offered significant protection against severe chickenpox in healthy adults.
J. Infect. Dis.
Immunization of healthy adults with live attenuated varicella vaccine.