Chickenpox is a highly infectious, acute contagious disease predominantly of children under 10 years old, though it may occur at any age. It is characterised by fever and a rash, and is caused by varicella zoster virus (1).
The name chickenpox is said to relate to the similarity of the skin lesions to boiled chick-peas.
Around 90% of people who come into contact will develop the disease (1).
Transmission is through
Around 90% of adults over the age of 18 years have immunity for VZV in the UK (3). Although not seen in recent years, varicella infections occurs in a seasonal pattern with a peak incidence from March to May (2).
Reactivation of latent VZV will result in shingles (herpes zoster) which is more likely to be seen in adults (2).
A person exposed to shingles may develop Chicken pox but a person exposed to Chicken pox will not develop Shingles (2).
Last reviewed 04/2021