Titer results of "equivocal" for Chicken Pox (Varicella) during Pregnancy - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-02-2012, 10:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I had a big case of the chicken pox when I was in third grade.  I'm 18 weeks pregnant with my third child.  There are strains of wild chicken pox going around here with one group of our friends and I was considering exposing my kids (ages 5 and 2) in a few weeks after a family vacation.  My midwives suggested getting my varicella titers checked.  I had the bloodwork done and the results came back "equivocal".  I had the bloodwork done a second time and got the same result.  They are now saying that I should be treated as not immune and avoid anyone in contact with CP.  If I come in contact with someone with CP, I should come in right away to get anti-virals.

 

My questions are about the accuracy of the varicella titer test.  Does anyone know how accurate it is?  The nurse I talked to said that they do it twice just to make sure it is accurate, but that doesn't tell me how accurate it is in the first place.  Is the test just as accurate during pregnancy as during non-pregnancy?  Is there more than one way to do a titer check for chicken pox?  Should I be asking for a different type of test and if so, what would it be called?  Is there anything else you would do?

 

Thanks!  I appreciate your help!


Jen ~ DD1 (10/2006) ~ DD2 (9/2009) ~ DD3 (6/2012)
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Old 01-03-2012, 06:26 PM
 
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from having been tested (after having a sever case) and knowing others that also had been tested - I feels the test is accurate - that being said - I was tested because I had a very complicated case of CP as an adult and had possible exposure when pregnant and could do the testing for free- I personally feel that NO known exposure during pregnancy is unwise- unknown you have no choice- big difference

I would not invite any added ANYTHING that I would not know was not going to cause anything to happen-that's me. I would not take a risk even if small if the alternative was not to take that risk.

 

this may help you with your results  - http://allnurses.com/general-nursing-student/question-about-chickenpox-382975.html 


 

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Old 01-04-2012, 07:35 AM
 
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Forgive my ignorance...but, I thought once you got CP you were immune to it.  (Not to open a whole can of worms and get off topic, but I'm interested to read people's answer to you and just wanted to understand that minor but significant factor).

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Old 01-04-2012, 07:40 AM
 
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Forgive my ignorance...but, I thought once you got CP you were immune to it.  (Not to open a whole can of worms and get off topic, but I'm interested to read people's answer to you and just wanted to understand that minor but significant factor).



a person (usually adult) can then get shingles, a painful variation of CP...it can pop up at any time, like the std herpes2 can...and not everyone who gets CP is immune to it after having it..some people's bodies don't make the proper antibodies to the virus. 

 

just like some people don't make antibodies to the vaccine they received, and got the disease anyway..think flu..

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Old 01-04-2012, 12:14 PM
 
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Oh, right.  I guess I was thinking you'd get the t cell boost with exposure to your kids and be better off rather than develop shingles.  But it's a different ball of wax with pregnancy I guess.  I usually turn to Dr. Tenpenny when I am unclear about the nuances of disease and I was watching a youtube vid just now.  She started talking about this very issue and then said, "...varicella induced problems with the fetus is so rare that...."  and then the video cut off!  There's another part but she has so many videos and I don't know which comes next! 

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Old 01-04-2012, 01:35 PM
 
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while it can be rare- I would not want to risk it - I see nothing that it is a benefit 

 

 

If a pregnant woman develops shingles just before birth--as little as a week or two before--there can be an impact on the baby's health. These babies are more likely to develop pediatric shingles, according to the NINDS. They may actually be born with chickenpox, or develop it after just a couple of days of life. Children may also develop shingles before age 5 due to this exposure just before birth.


Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/26279-effects-shingles-during-pregnancy/#ixzz1iWXIeGmY


 

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Old 06-06-2012, 11:12 AM
 
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RE: Equivial results for the chicken pox virus.(Varicella Titer).

The varicella titer test measures your body's response to a virus that one may have been exposed to. In your case, you state that you not only were exposed, but you had a clear case of the chicken pox when you were a child. The accuracy of this test is over 99%. The reason for a retest is to make sure that an equivical result was not the fault of a reagent (what is used to test the blood), or some other lab error. By retesting and confirming the result, there is very little room for error. The test is accurate and you should consider yourself not immune to chicken pox. After your child is born, speak with your doctor AND your child's pediatrician before getting revaccinated for the chicken pox. Once the pediatrician has cleared it, you should seriously consider the vaccine.

 

You also state that you were considering exposing your children, ages 2 and 5,  to make sure they get the disease. Your 5 year old should have had 2 vaccines for this already, at 18 months and 4 years old. Therefore, you should run a titer on your 5 year old to confirm his/her immune status. Your 2 year old should have had one vaccine as well, at age 18 months.

 

What you need to consider is that chicken pox can be a very serious disease in infants and adults. While most people simply develop a mild fever and itchy spots that go away, some people become very ill and suffer lifelong consequences from complications of the chicken pox. Complications can include skin infections, pneumonia, and even swelling of the brain. Please consider all of the options before making your decision. I am an MA with 6 years pediatric experience, and 15 years lab experience. I hope this information is beneficial for you.

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Old 06-06-2012, 01:01 PM
 
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You also state that you were considering exposing your children, ages 2 and 5,  to make sure they get the disease. Your 5 year old should have had 2 vaccines for this already, at 18 months and 4 years old. Therefore, you should run a titer on your 5 year old to confirm his/her immune status. Your 2 year old should have had one vaccine as well, at age 18 months.

 

 

 

Hi C8sthoughts. Welcome to Mothering. One thing to bear in mind on this forum is that a significant fraction of those posting may have chosen not to give their children the CP vaccination (or other/any vaccinations). That was my reading of the OP's questions about exposing her 2 and 5 year olds - that this is instead of them being vaccinated. 

 

I live in the UK where healthy children are not offered the CP vaccination, so it is expected your children will get it. My daughter got the 18month shot in the US though, and now at 5 has recently been exposed and not got it. Would you still recommend a booster for her (if we can get it). Many of the mothers of other children in her class (which recently had a spout of CP) are a bit jealous she got this vaccine, and I'm considering how to start a campaign to make it available on the NHS to parents who want their kids to get it.

 

I'm also interested in your opinion on my son who has been exposed several times and doesn't seem to have got it yet. We've considered going private in the UK to get him this shot, but have not done it yet. 


Mother of two living in UK. Daughter (2007) born in USA, son (2010) born here. I'm pro natural birth, midwife care, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, baby wearing and a keen advocate of cloth diapering. I'm a full time working research scientist (physical sciences) and I'm pro-vaccine.

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Old 06-06-2012, 10:45 PM
 
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while it can be rare- I would not want to risk it - I see nothing that it is a benefit 

 

 

If a pregnant woman develops shingles just before birth--as little as a week or two before--there can be an impact on the baby's health. These babies are more likely to develop pediatric shingles, according to the NINDS. They may actually be born with chickenpox, or develop it after just a couple of days of life. Children may also develop shingles before age 5 due to this exposure just before birth.


Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/26279-effects-shingles-during-pregnancy/#ixzz1iWXIeGmY

 

You don't get shingles from being exposed to chickenpox. If you've already had chickenpox, being exposed again helps *protect* against shingles.

 

But of course, shingles is not the concern of the OP. She is concerned that she might not be fully immune to chickenpox, and might get it again while pregnant.

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