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Epidemiological Characteristics of Varicella Outbreaks – China, 2006-2022

China CDC Wkly. 2023 Dec 29;5(52):1161-1166. doi: 10.46234/ccdcw2023.218.


INTRODUCTION: Varicella outbreaks significantly disrupt schools and other child-centered institutions. This study aimed to identify patterns and epidemiological features of varicella outbreaks in China from 2006 to 2022.

METHODS: Data were extracted from outbreak reports submitted to the Public Health Emergency Reporting Management Information System within the specified timeframe. Analytical methods included Spearman correlation tests and the Mann-Kendall trend tests, conducted using R software to analyze and summarize reported data. Additionally, statistical analyses of trends and epidemiological characteristics were performed using SPSS software.

RESULTS: Between 2006 and 2022, a total of 11,990 varicella outbreaks were reported in China, resulting in 354,082 cases. The attack rates showed a decreasing trend over the years (Z=-4.49, P<0.05). These outbreaks occurred in two peaks annually. The eastern region accounted for the highest number of outbreaks (31.53%), followed by the southwestern (24.22%) and southern (17.93%) regions. Varicella outbreaks were most common in elementary schools. Most of the outbreaks (60.43%) were classified as Grade IV (general) severity, with 86.41% of the outbreaks having 10-49 cases. The median and inter-quartile ranges (IQR) of the duration of outbreaks, response time, and case counts were 21 (10, 39) days, 4 (0, 12) days, and 23 (16, 35) cases, respectively. These variables showed a positive correlation (P<0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: Varicella outbreaks exhibited fluctuating trends, initially decreasing until 2012, followed by an increase, reaching the highest peak in 2018-2019. Continual monitoring of varicella epidemiology is necessary to assess the burden of the disease and formulate evidence-based strategies and policies for its prevention and control.

PMID:38164468 | PMC:PMC10757729 | DOI:10.46234/ccdcw2023.218

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