antenatal screening programme

Varicella susceptibility

Varicella zoster virus (VZV) is the virus which causes chickenpox. It usually occurs in children under 10 years old, causing a mild infection. If a woman catches the virus for the first time during pregnancy it can make her seriously ill. Her baby may also be affected.

Read more about chickenpox on the NHS website.

UK NSC screening recommendation Based on the last UK NSC review of this condition that occurred in December 2019.

Screening is not currently recommended for this condition.

Screening is not recommended because:

  • there is very little data on susceptibility to chickenpox in the UK or on the number of susceptible women who come into contact with the virus during pregnancy
  • current tests have not been evaluated for use in the general pregnant population
  • there is no evidence looking at whether a screening programme improves the delivery of VZIG, so there is uncertainty on the benefit of a screening programme

Supporting documents from the 2019 review

Evidence map Varicella susceptibility (2019)
This document investigates whether a more detailed review can be conducted based on the available evidence.

Review cycle

Date previous review completed: 2019

Next review estimated to be completed: 2022 to 2023.

To see previous evidence reviews, visit the UK NSC archive.

Organisations interested in Varicella susceptibility

These organisations have expressed interest in this recommendation and may submit responses to evidence reviews.

List of organisations

If you think your organisation should be added, please contact us.