Isolation Guidelines


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  • Varicella-Zoster

    Isolation requirements

    • Disease: Varicella-zoster (shingles, herpes zoster)

    Localized, in immunocompetant patient

    • Category: Standard
    • Infective material: Skin lesions
    • Comments: Risk of transmission from an immunocompetant host is low, but not zero. Keep lesions covered if possible. Persons susceptible to varicella-zoster (chicken pox) should, if possible, not enter room. Roommates should be immune to chicken pox.

    Localized, in immunocompromised patient, or disseminated

    • Category: Contact Precautions are required in addition to Airborne Precautions and Standard Precautions for patients with disseminated shingles or localized shingles in an immunocompromised patient. Wear nose/mouth protection upon entering the room for consistency and because of the difficulties in establishing definite immunity in all health care personnel. This disease may also be spread by droplets; an airborne mask must be used, but should be discarded after one use.
    • Infective material: Respiratory secretions and skin lesions
    • Duration of isolation: Until all skin lesions dried and crusted.
    • Comments: Localized lesions in immunocompromised patients frequently become disseminated. Since dissemination is unpredictable, use same precautions as disseminated disease. Disseminated disease is highly contagious. Follow varicella (chicken pox) guidelines.