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What is the Varicella-zoster virus?
Varicella may not be a common term in every household but chickenpox on the other hand is always a worry of parents with children in elementary school. Chickenpox is caused by the Varicella-zoster virus (VZV). (Talaro) Chickenpox is a virus that causes an itchy rash that is contagious. Chickenpox is spread through airborne droplets or direct contact with the lesions created by chickenpox. Varicella is strictly a human disease and cannot be carried by animals or insects.
There are several signs and symptoms that one may exhibit if they have chickenpox. Some of these symptoms include a red, itchy rash, the presence of a fever, one losing their appetite, and malaise or having a general feeling of being unwell. (Chickenpox) There are three phases that the rash caused by chickenpox will progress through. These stages include: Raised pink or red bumps also known as papules. These spots will appear over several days at the beginning of the infection. Fluid-filled blisters also known as vesicles. These spots will eventually break and leak fluids. The last stage occurs when the spots crust over and scab. These scabs will cover the broken blisters and they will heal in several days. (Chickenpox) As previously stated, chickenpox is caused by the Varicella-zoster virus (VZV). (Talaro) The Varicella-zoster virus is a DNA virus in the same group as the herpes virus. (Varicella) Latency is the main virulence property of Varicella. Human are the sole reservoir of the chickenpox and is spread through human-to-human contact. Chickenpox can be spread through the respiratory tract and conjunctiva. Respiratory transmission occurs through person-to-person when respiratory tract secretions are transferred from an infected individual to a healthy individual. Another form of transmission of Varicella is through respiratory contact of airborne droplets or inhaling aerosols. (Varicella) People that are at the most risk of...
Cited: Chickenpox. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/chickenpox/basics/definition/con-20019025, Mar. 26, 2013.
Varicella. http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/varicella.html#epi, May 2012.
Who Discovered Chickenpox? http://discovery.yukozimo.com/who-discovered-chickenpox/, 2010.
Talaro, Kathleen Park, Chess, Barry. Foundations in Microbiology. Eighth edition. New York, NY. McGraw-Hill, 2012.
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