Chickenpox

Chickenpox ; Signs Symptoms, Pathogenesis, Prevention, treatment
Image taken from WebMD

Introduction

Chickenpox is a very contagious disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV). VZV is a DNA virus and is a member of the herpesvirus family. Primary infection with VZV results in chickenpox. The virus is believed to have a short survival time in the environment. Chickenpox can be serious, especially in babies, adults and people with weakened immune system.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Rash, Blisters and Scabs
  • Fever
  • Tiredness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headache

Pathogenesis

  • The VZV enters through the respiratory tract and conjunctiva in the body.
  • The virus is believed to replicate at the site of entry in the nasopharynx and in regional lymph nodes.
  • A primary viremia occurs 4 to 6 days after infection and disseminates the virus to other organs, such as the liver, spleen, and sensory ganglia.
  • Further replication occurs in the viscera, followed by a secondary viremia, with viral infection of the skin.

Transmission

  • The virus spreads easily from people with chickenpox to others who have never had the disease or been vaccinated.
  • The virus spreads mainly by touching or breathing in the virus particles that come from chickenpox blisters.

Prevention and treatment

  • The best way to prevent chickenpox is to get the chickenpox vaccine.
  • Use non-aspirin medication, such as acetaminophen, to relieve fever from chickenpox.
  • Antiviral medications are recommended for people with chickenpox.
  • Acyclovir, an antiviral medication, is licensed for treatment of chickenpox.
  • The medication works best if it is given within first 24 hours after the rash starts.

 

 

References

  1. WebMD
  2. Medical News Today
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  4. World Health Organization
  5. Healthline