Varicella Zoster Virus

  • Rachel GordonEmail author
  • Stephen Tyring
  • Whitney Lapolla
  • Rana Mays


Varicella zoster virus causes two clinical syndromes. Chicken pox, or varicella, is a self-limiting disease of childhood characterized by a highly pruritic rash. Shingles, or herpes zoster, is a reactivation of the virus typically seen in adults. Heberden first distinguished these illness as separate entities in 1767 [1], and Osler emphasized the distinction in his book on clinical medicine [2]. Their relation was suggested by von Bokay in 1892 when he noted that children developed varicella after coming into contact with herpes zoster patients [3]. Weller et al. proved a common etiological agent [3–5], and Garland and Hope-Simpson were the first to propose a reactivation of latent varicella as the cause of herpes zoster [3]. In 1995, the FDA approved the first vaccine for the prevention of varicella, significantly changing the epidemiology of this disease [6].


Herpes Simplex Virus Herpes Zoster Varicella Zoster Virus Optic Neuritis Pruritic Rash 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rachel Gordon
    • 1
    Email author
  • Stephen Tyring
    • 2
  • Whitney Lapolla
    • 2
  • Rana Mays
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of DermatologyThe University of Texas Medical School at HoustonHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Department of DermatologyThe University of Texas at HoustonHoustonUSA
  3. 3.Department of DermatologyBaylor College of MedicineHoustonUSA

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