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Trends in varicella epidemiology among an unvaccinated population: first results from Libya
  1. Faisal Ismail1,2,3,
  2. Soghra Haq1
  1. 1 Clinical Laboratory Department, Tobruk University, Tobruk, Libya
  2. 2 Department of Infectious Diseases, National Centre for Disease Control, Tobruk, Libya
  3. 3 Department of Infectious Diseases, Libyan Medical Research Centre, Kambut, Libya
  1. Correspondence to Dr Faisal Ismail, Clinical Laboratory Department, Tobruk University, Tobruk, Libya; faisal.ismail{at}

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Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) is a highly infectious virus that causes varicella (chickenpox). The global numbers of incident and death cases due to VZV infection were 83 963 744 and 14 553, respectively.1 Most infections occur during childhood; however, in 10% to 20% of the cases, the virus remains latent in neural ganglia and can reactivate later, causing herpes zoster (shingles) in older age groups and immunocompromised people.2 The infection is transmitted from person to person mainly by inhaling aerosols of the respiratory tract secretions from the infected people. The VZV infection can be transmitted by direct contact with the upper respiratory tract and mucus membrane of the conjunctiva and the contaminated fluids of skin lesions of the infected persons and the infection usually develop into clinical disease in susceptible individuals.3 The disease is characterised by pruritic, maculopapular, vesicular rashes that progress into non-infectious dry crusts over 3 to 7 days. The symptoms are usually mild to moderate and self-limited, but sometimes severe symptoms such as pneumonia, secondary bacterial infections and even death …

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  • Contributors FI conceptualised and designed the study, drafted the initial manuscript, and critically reviewed and revised the manuscript. SH designed the data collection, collected data, carried out the initial analyses, and critically reviewed and revised the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.