Varicella and its complications as cause of hospitalization

Giuseppe Losurdo, Luisella Bertoluzzo, Francesco Canale, Anna Timitilli, Elisabetta Bondi, Elio Castagnola, Raffaella Giacchino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Varicella is an acute contagious disease that most commonly occurs in childhood. Although normally benign, varicella can occasionally develop into a more serious illness. Moreover, the infection can lead to serious complications, such as Staphylococcus aureus infections, otitis media, endocarditis, pneumonia, and rare central nervous system (CNS) events like cerebellar ataxia and encephalitis. This study was conducted to analyze the hospitalization rate due to varicella or its complications in a tertiary care hospital in Italy, where varicella vaccination has not yet been implemented. The review was carried out on cases of children with varicella identified by ICD9 and ICD9-CM diagnostic codes and admitted to the Giannina Gaslini Children's Research Hospital of Genoa, Italy, from January 1 st, 1995 to December 31 st, 2004. For each case reporting complications, the clinical report form was extracted and the events recorded. Varicella was recorded in 346 (0,16%) out of 212,647 total hospital discharges. Chickenpox with detailed complications and cerebrovascular diseases accounted for 56 discharges (12.14%), for a total of 728 days. Fifteen patients needed more than one hospitalization because of severe sequelae as result of CNS involvement. We reported three particular cases of invasive infections and four children affected with cerebrovascular diseases following varicella. Our retrospective data regarding a single tertiary care pediatric hospital shows that hospitalization due to varicella or its sequelae may present an important medical and indirect economic problem.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-234
Number of pages6
JournalInfezioni in Medicina
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2005


  • Complications
  • Hospitalization
  • Varicella

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)


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