Chickenpox Questions & Answers

Updated: Jun 04, 2018
  • Author: Anthony J Papadopoulos, MD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Questions & Answers

Overview

How is chickenpox (varicella) (varicella-zoster virus) (VZV) acquired and transmitted?

Is chickenpox (varicella) benign?

What is the impact of the chickenpox (varicella) immunization (vaccine) in the US?

How is chickenpox (varicella) diagnosed?

Which prophylactic options should be considered for individuals at risk of chickenpox (varicella) infection?

How is varicella-zoster virus (VZV) related to chickenpox (varicella) and zoster (shingles) (herpes zoster)?

How is chickenpox (varicella) transmitted?

How does the varicella-zoster virus (VZV) infect the body after initial inhalation?

What is the immune response to varicella-zoster virus (VZV)?

What is the etiology of chickenpox (varicella)?

How does chickenpox (varicella) affect age, race, or gender differently?

Has the prevalence of chickenpox (varicella) in the US changed over time?

How does climate affect the prevalence of chickenpox (varicella)?

What is the prognosis of chickenpox (varicella)?

What education should be given to parents of children with chickenpox (varicella)?

Presentation

What is the basis for chickenpox (varicella) diagnosis?

What are the first signs of chickenpox (varicella)?

How is a chickenpox (varicella) rash recognized?

What are the most common secondary bacterial infections in patients with chickenpox (varicella)?

What are the risks and complications of disseminated primary varicella (chickenpox) infection?

What are the known central nervous system (CNS) complications of chickenpox (varicella)?

What are the known hemorrhagic complications of chickenpox (varicella)?

What are the risks of in utero infection with chickenpox (varicella) (varicella-zoster virus) (VZV)?

What does the characteristic chickenpox (varicella) vesicle look like?

What are the clinical characteristics of chickenpox (varicella)?

How does the presentation of chickenpox (varicella) differ in adults and children?

What are the possible clinical variants of chickenpox (varicella)?

How does sun exposure affect chickenpox (varicella)?

DDX

Which disorders should be included in the differential diagnoses of chickenpox (varicella)?

What are the differential diagnoses for Chickenpox?

Workup

Which tests should be performed for chickenpox (varicella)?

What is the role of Tzanck Smear in the workup for chickenpox (varicella)?

Is culturing for chickenpox (varicella) (varicella-zoster virus) (VZV) useful?

What assays provide serologic evidence of immunity to chickenpox (varicella) (varicella-zoster virus) (VZV)?

When is a chest X-ray indicated in the workup for chickenpox (varicella)?

How is varicella-zoster virus (VZV) differentiated from herpes simplex virus (HSV)?

Treatment

What is the treatment for chickenpox (varicella) in children?

What is the treatment for chickenpox (varicella) in adults and immunocompromised patients?

When is varicella-zoster immune globulin (VariZIG) indicated?

How are symptoms of chickenpox (varicella) treated in otherwise healthy children?

When is acyclovir indicated for treatment of chickenpox (varicella) in children?

When should oral acyclovir be used in the treatment of chickenpox (varicella) in adolescents?

Is valacyclovir effective in the treatment of chickenpox (varicella)?

Is famciclovir effective in the treatment of chickenpox (varicella)?

Is sorivudine effective in the treatment of chickenpox (varicella)?

What are the treatment options for chickenpox (varicella) in patients who are immunosuppressed or immunocompromised?

Are secondary complications of chickenpox (varicella) more common in immunocompromised patients?

Are vidarabine and interferon-alpha effective in the treatment of chickenpox (varicella) in immunocompromised patients?

Is foscarnet effective in the treatment of chickenpox (varicella) in immunocompromised patients?

Are there ongoing clinical trials of new antiviral agents for the treatment of chickenpox (varicella)?

Varicella-zoster immune globulin (VariZIG) is indicated for which high-risk groups?

What are the recommendations for administration of chickenpox (varicella) vaccinations?

Does the effectiveness of chickenpox (varicella) vaccine diminish over time?

What is breakthrough chickenpox (varicella) and how is it different from conventional primary chickenpox (varicella)?

What are the possible adverse effects of the chickenpox (varicella) vaccination?

When should a specialist be consulted in cases of chickenpox (varicella)?

Guidelines

What are the clinical guidelines for immunization against chickenpox (varicella)?

What are the treatment guidelines for chickenpox (varicella) in pregnancy?

Medications

What are the goals of pharmacotherapy for chickenpox (varicella)?

Which medications in the drug class Immune globulins are used in the treatment of Chickenpox?

Which medications in the drug class Antiviral agents are used in the treatment of Chickenpox?

Which medications in the drug class Antihistamines are used in the treatment of Chickenpox?