Serological Susceptibility to Varicella Among U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Detainees

Aiden K. Varan, Edith R. Lederman, Shanon S. Stous, Diana Elson, Jennifer L. Freiman, Mona Marin, Adriana S. Lopez, William M. Stauffer, Rachael H. Joseph, Stephen H. Waterman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is responsible for detaining unauthorized aliens during immigration proceedings. During 2014 to 2015, adult ICE detainees at a California facility were invited to complete a survey concerning self-reported varicella history and risk factors. Participants underwent serological testing for varicella-zoster virus (VZV) IgG; susceptible individuals were offered varicella vaccination. Among 400 detainees with available serology results, 48 (12%) were susceptible to varicella. Self-reported varicella history was negatively associated with susceptibility (adjusted odds ratio = 0.16; 95% confidence interval [0.07, 0.35]). Among 196 detainees reporting a positive history, 95% had VZV IgG levels suggestive of varicella immunity. Among 44 susceptible detainees offered vaccination, 86% accepted. Given relatively high varicella susceptibility, targeted screening and vaccination among ICE detainees lacking a positive history might reduce varicella transmission risks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)84-95
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Correctional Health Care
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was supported in part by an appointment to the Applied Epidemiology Fellowship Program administered by the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists and funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [cooperative agreement number 1U380T000143-01].

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, © The Author(s) 2017.


  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement
  • detention
  • immigration
  • vaccination
  • varicella


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