*Rate per 100,000 population based on the U.S. Census Bureau’s population data as of July 1, 2003
Varicella is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which is part of the Herpesvirus family. The virus is spread from person to person by direct contact, droplet or airborne spread of vesicle fluid or secretions of the respiratory tract. Varicella is a vaccine-preventable disease that can be fatal. Nationally, 9 case deaths and 11,000 cases of hospitalization due to varicella in adults and children were reported in 2002 (latest national data available).
In 2003, there were 114 reported cases of varicella associated with hospitalization in Indiana, for a rate of 1.8 cases per 100,000 population (Table 1). Figure 1 shows reported cases by year from 1999-2003. As Figure 2 shows, age-specific rates were greatest for infants under the age of 1 year (9.5), followed by children aged 5-9 years (6.8), and preschoolers aged 1-4 years (4.9).
There were no deaths due to varicella reported in Indiana in 2003.
*Data Source: Indiana Hospital Discharge Data furnished by the Indiana Hospital&Health Association