Varicella-zoster virus is an infectious disease that causes fever and a pruritic papulovesicular rash that starts on the face and scalp; progresses to the trunk and, to a lesser extent, the extremities; and emerges in crops of lesions over a few days. Painful mucosal lesions can also occur. Varicella is an airborne disease, spread by respiratory secretions, and is highly contagious. The varicella virus remains latent in sensory ganglion neurons, and zoster is a later reactivation of the virus (typically in patients aged ≥50 years), resulting in a painful vesicular rash localized to a single dermatome. Varicella and zoster are usually diagnosed clinically, although serology or PCR testing may be used. Treatment is supportive in uncomplicated cases in immunocompetent patients; immunocompromised or severely affected patients may be treated with antiviral medications such as acyclovir or valacyclovir. Vaccines are available for both varicella and zoster.
KeywordsVaricella Zoster Chicken pox Shingles Chicken pox vaccine
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