Category: Screening & Prevention

EP114-2 - Update on Syrian Refugee Health Assessment and Preventive Care: Varicella Seroepidemiology in Syrians in Ottawa

Thursday, Nov 23
1:35 PM – 1:50 PM

BACKGROUND: Ottawa received 1500 Syrian Refugees November 2015 to May 2016. Syria lacked universal varicella immunisation and refugees’ migration poses exposure risk. Empiric vaccination is recommended for children, but not adults. Our research establishes seroprevalence of varicella in Syrian refugees over age 13 to aid decision-making on screening and varicella vaccination.
SUMMARY OF WORK: All Syrian refugees screened at the four highest volume refugee clinics in Ottawa November 2015 to May 2016 were included, for a sample size of 669. Data was collected on age, refugee status, migration factors, and varicella IgG ELISA which has 95% sensitivity for previous natural infection.
SUMMARY OF RESULTS: Our sample had a binomial age distribution with approximately 300 individuals under 13 and 375 over 13, were mainly Government Assisted Refugees, and had homogenous migration risk. 259 (70%) over age 13 were tested for varicella IgG, 96% (CI 94-98%) had seroimmunity. Study was not sufficiently powered for association testing.
CONCLUSION: Syrian refugees over age 13 arriving in Ottawa have high baseline seroimmunity to varicella, indicating exposure to natural infection. It is unclear if this is related to migration. Preventive health practice should consider if further testing and vaccination for adults is warranted, or if empiric vaccination of children is sufficient.

Dolly Lin

PGY2 in Public Health & Preventive Medicine and Family Medicine
University of Ottawa

Dolly Meng Han Lin is a PGY2 in Public Health & Preventive Medicine and Family Medicine at the University of Ottawa.

Yun Yu Lindy Luo

MD Candidate
University of Ottawa

Lindy Luo is an MD candidate from the University of Ottawa. She is originally from Toronto.

Dolly Meng Lin

Resident, Public Health Preventive Medicine and Family Medicine
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada