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Gyehee Lee 1 Article
Epidemiological characteristics of varicella outbreaks in the Republic of Korea, 2016–2020
Eun-Young Kim, Chungmin Park, Gyehee Lee, Suyeon Jeong, Jeongsuk Song, Dong-Han Lee
Osong Public Health Res Perspect. 2022;13(2):133-141.   Published online April 26, 2022
DOI: https://doi.org/10.24171/j.phrp.2022.0087
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Objectives
We described the trends and epidemiological characteristics of varicella outbreaks from 2016 to 2020 in the Republic of Korea. Methods: We investigated variables such as the outbreak setting, age of patients, vaccination status, and lesion count. The collected data were analyzed with the Cochrane-Armitage trend test and Kruskal-Wallis test. These statistical tests were performed using R ver. 4.0.3. Results: The number of varicella outbreaks increased from 2016 to 2018; however, after a slight decrease in the number of outbreaks in 2019, the number fell sharply in 2020. The median size of outbreaks decreased from 8 to 9 cases during 2016−2019 to 6 cases in 2020. The median duration of outbreaks was 18 days during 2016−2017, 28 days in 2018, 29 days in 2019, and 15 days in 2020. Varicella outbreaks occurred most frequently in elementary schools, and vaccination coverage of patients increased from 89.4% in 2016 to 97.2% in 2019. The median age of patients with outbreak-related varicella decreased from 8 years in 2016 to 6 years in 2020. Conclusion: Significant changes were observed in the age of patients with outbreak-related varicella. Ongoing monitoring of varicella outbreaks should be conducted. Further research will be needed to measure the disease burden of varicella and enable evidence-based policy decisions.

PHRP : Osong Public Health and Research Perspectives