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Question:
I am 29 and 25 weeks pregnant. I have a 2 1/2 year old daughter. My question is....what is the danger if I the get chicken pox. I have never had them when I was a kid or any other time, and my daughter has been exposed to other children who have them.
TB
Answer:
Sorry for the delay in answering your question. There has been technical problems with the site which stopped us from getting your question. Chicken pox is very infectious. As many as 90% of individuals exposed will get the infection, following an incubation period of about 10-21 days. Route of infection is by droplets so normal contact between children allows the virus to spread easily. In pregnancy chicken pox can be very severe in about 10% of cases causing a serious disease in the lungs. Generally it is very unpleasant (much worse for adults than children). The baby is most at risk up to about 20 weeks of pregnancy and can be born with abnormalities because of chicken pox infection. If you have never had chicken pox you are very likely to get it from your daughter if she develops the infection from this contact. However, you may have already been infected and had a very mild or subclinical infection. The only way to confirm this is to have a blood test to check for anitbodies to the chicken pox virus. If you have no antibodies, it would be safer for you to receive a dose of special VZ (varicella zoster) immunoglobulin. This is a blood derived product obtained by pooling plasma from people who have had chicken pox. It provides you with passive immunity to chicken pox and gives you protection for several months only. If you are not immune, you should have this as soon as possible after exposure to someone with chicken pox. Best thing would be to see your doctor very soon and get your blood tested - hopefully this would show signs of immunity. If you're non-immune, be guided by your doctor. Most would advise waiting with the immunoglobulin until the time you have contact with chicken pox. You should then receive immunoglobulin as soon as possible after this contact occurs.
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