Monday, March 17, 2008 - 2:20 PM

School Based Varicella Surveillance, Palm Beach County, Florida

Savita Kumar1, Barbara Johnson2, Ginger Stanley2, Alina Alonso1, and Jean M. Malecki1. (1) Palm Beach County Health Dept, 7289 Garden Road, Riviera Beach, FL, USA, (2) Epidemiology, Palm Beach County Health Dept, Riviera Beach, FL, USA

Learning Objectives for this Presentation:
By the end of the presentation participants will be able to:
Set up a school based surveillance program and work with their community partners
Set up a response to a varicella outbreak

Since the introduction of varicella vaccine in 1995, the incidence of varicella has decreased as vaccination coverage has increased. Enhanced varicella surveillance needs to be implemented to evaluate the effectiveness of vaccination delivery and coverage


School children

Project Description:
This project was designed to put into practice the recommendations from the ACIP for surveillance of varicella cases. Varicella disease was not reportable in Florida until November 2006. A partnership was established among the School Health and Epidemiology Programs of Palm Beach County Health Department; school health nurses of the Health Care District of Palm Beach County; and staff of Palm Beach County School Board District. A reporting procedure for varicella cases was established. Sample letters for parents and education materials were developed. A procedure for communication was implemented. Training for school nurses, key school district staff, and Epidemiology staff was done

Results/Lessons Learned:
In school year 2005-06, 208 cases were reported. 84% of cases were in elementary school children and 4.5% had severe disease. In school year 2006-07, 193 cases were reported; 60% were in elementary school children; and 1.8% had severe disease.
Repeat training was needed for school health nursing staff that included the use of the most up-to-date reporting form and required completion of all the fields on the reporting form.