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2499 pages added, reviewed or updated during the last month (last updated: 18/4/2021)


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chickenpox

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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

  • direct person to person contact
  • airborne droplet infection
  • through contact with infected articles such as clothing and bedding (1)

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).

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Reference:

Last reviewed 04/2021

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