Q. My brother is affected with chickenpox. Will my pregnant wife get the infection soon?

Answered by
Dr. Payas Joshi
and medically reviewed by Dr. Vinodhini. J
This is a premium question & answer published on Feb 20, 2020 and last reviewed on: Feb 24, 2020

Hello doctor,

My wife is 8 weeks pregnant. Two weeks back my brother got infected with chickenpox and after that, even my sister in law is infected with chickenpox. My wife has already had chicken pox in her early schooling days.

I have a few questions. Is it advisable for my wife to stay in the same house as we are? Would there be a chance that a person would get infected more than once in a life with chickenpox? We performed a varicella IgG test for my wife and the report says equivocal, what does this mean? (I have attached the report). How bad and critical is it for her to get infected at this stage of pregnancy? Is there anything that could be done to protect the baby if she gets infected?



Welcome to

I have seen the report. (attachment removed to protect patient identity).

I can understand your concern. I will answer one by one.

As you told me it is 8th week I would like to tell you that in the first 12 weeks the overall risk of transmitting infection to the child and development of severe disease in child is only 0.4 percent. In your case, the mother already has protective antibodies (IgG antibodies), cutting down the risk further. But still, we do not want to risk the child whatever risk may be. So I will advise for isolation of mother or patient until all the lesions of chickenpox get crusted because after they crust, they get noninfectious.

The chance of getting chickenpox again in life is a rare phenomenon but at times if the immunity is low it may occur.

Equivocal in the report means that the mother has protecting immunity against chickenpox but not very strong. It would be strong if the levels were more than 12 but it is not negative. That means the mother can fight some infection.

It is not very bad to get affected at this stage, but if it happens near the delivery time or within five days of delivery then it is very bad. Right now, even if she gets infected, she will develop immunity and pass on to the baby. Some antiviral drugs can be given if infected, but I do not think she requires it now. And yes definitely, until the infective stage of your brother and sister vanishes you should think of isolation.

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