Background: The objective of the study was to determine the clinical presentation, diagnosis, treatment, and respiratory complications of varicella zoster pneumonia (VZP) in children.
Material and methods: Relevant data, age, gender, month of admission, demographic data, past medical and family histories, physical findings during admission, laboratory findings, treatments given, and outcome of these treatments with diagnosis of varicella pneumonia were collected retrospectively.
Results: In a two-year period, 15 cases were identified and their data were analysed. Eight patients were male (53%) and seven were female (43%). The mean age was 4.7 ± 3.7 months. Twelve cases (80%) were under six months of age and nine patients (60%) had household contact with persons with chicken pox infection. After onset of the chicken pox rash, the mean time for development of respiratory symptoms was 3.5 ± 1.0 days. The mean hospital stay was 13 ± 1.8 days and ranged from 9−17 days. The persisting fever, fatigue, and cough episodes were major presenting symptoms upon admission in almost all the patients. All patients received acyclovir and non-specific pneumonia treatment and all recovered. None of the children were previously immunized against varicella.
Conclusions: Varicella zoster pneumonia should be considered in patients with prolonged fever and accompanying cough in patients with chicken pox. Probably the best approach would be a trial of high dose acyclovir treatment in children who develop VZP.