The objective of this study was to characterize the epidemiology of varicella and varicella-associated complications in Al-Ain, United Arab Emirates (UAE) during 2000-04. The annual number of reported cases varied from 373 to 790 per 100 000 population. Most (89%) occurred in children < 15 years old. Of 187 children requiring hospital admission, 50.3% had febrile illness due to secondary bacterial infection and 17.6% had neurological complications. The overall mortality rate among hospitalized children was 1.1%, all due to invasive group A Streptococcus. Varicella and associated complications in previously healthy children is becoming an important clinical and public health problem in the UAE.
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