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Is my baby at a risk of catching infection from me?

Q: I am a 28 years old nurse working in Ireland. There is a spread of chicken pox here and I have also got infected with it despite having suffered from it at the age of 10 years. I also got vaccinated against it two years back. I have got some rashes, mild fever, minimal itching but otherwise I am comfortable. Is it possible to get chicken pox for the second time in life? I have a 6 weeks old baby. Is the baby also at a risk of getting infected from me?

A:There is a possibility that the illness you had when you were 10 years old might not have been chicken pox. The fact is if one gets chicken pox in childhood or adulthood, s/he becomes immune to and might get episodes of shingles, but not chicken pox again. Again the vaccine that was given to you 2 years ago does not appear to contribute to give the current clinical infection. Prior to commencing work in Ireland or at some stage, bloods tests done by occupational health departments do check for antibodies to Varicella Zoster virus (virus causing chicken pox). Those results would be helpful in bringing more clarity to the current clinical diagnosis. You appear to have got a generalised rash illness now. With regard to the 6 week baby at home, there is a possibility that your baby might get the same infection which you have got since this is a household contact. Isolation measures might have only been adhered to after the instructions from the physician. But, if the baby is a full term and healthy baby, this should be less worrisome. A preterm or an extremely premature baby is at a higher risk of catching the infection. To summarise, I am uncertain about the current diagnosis if your story of having chicken pox in childhood is true.


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