• D. Taylor-Robinson
  • Anne E. Caunt
Part of the Virology Monographs: Die Virusforschung in Einzeldarstellungen book series (VIROLOGY, volume 12)


Information on the mode of spread of varicella virus and the development of chickenpox is scanty. Thomson (1916) exposed susceptible children to patients with typical chickenpox in an open ward without there being direct or intermediate contact. He concluded that the secondary cases of chickenpox which developed did so because of airborne spread of virus. The major source of virus for airborne transmission has not been established. Doubtless transmission can occur from skin lesions, at least while they are in the vesicular stage, since cell-free virus is known to be present (Taylor-Robinson, 1959). Varicella virus has been isolated from the throat of a single person only on one occasion (Gold, 1966), there having been other unsuccessful attempts (Nelson and Geme, 1966; Caunt and Shaw, unpublished). Nevertheless, spread of the virus from the respiratory tract seems indisputable. It was deduced by Gordon and Meader (1929) who demonstrated the communicability of chickenpox during the 24-hour period preceding the onset of the rash. Similarly, Evans (1940) observed successful transmission of virus after a single exposure to a case of chickenpox 4 days before the rash occurred. Typical lesions occur in the mucosa of the mouth and pharynx at about the same time as the skin rash appears, but no such oropharyngeal lesions are apparent before this time when the patient is already infectious.


Dorsal Root Ganglion Herpes Zoster Sensory Nerve Latent Virus Sensory Ganglion 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Taylor-Robinson
    • 1
  • Anne E. Caunt
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of Communicable DiseasesM. R. C. Clinical Research CentreHarrow, MiddlesexEngland
  2. 2.Department of Medical Microbiology, New Medical SchoolUniversity of LiverpoolEngland

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