Chicken_Pox_Picture.jpg Chicken Pox (Varicella Zoster)

by Thomas Brown and Josh Columbus

Description of virus that causes the disease.

-- Varicella Zoster Virus
- Human Herpesvirus-3 (HHV-3).
- Type:
- DNA Virus.
- Single, linear, double-stranded molecule.
- Of The Herpes Family.
- 10-20% of the time it has infected someone, it reactivates later in life in the form of Shingles.

Viral Specificity:

- Red Bumps form on the epidermis, usually less then 1/4 inch in diameter.
- Bumps are itchy, irritating.
- Affect adults with more strength than children (The younger you are the less affect it will have on your body)
- Chicken pox has been observed in other primates such as chimpanzees and gorillas.

Symptoms and progression of the disease:
external image varicella_virus-shingles.jpg
- The main symptoms are red, itchy bumps on the epidermis.
- Symptoms usually start 10-21 days after being infected with the virus.
- Bumps dry up 8-10 days later (no longer contagious), form a scab which falls off 1-2 weeks later with little/no scarring.
- Bumps start to appear on head, arms,and legs, but mostly on the torso.
- Progresses to all parts of the body over the next few days.
Other symptoms are:
- Headache:
Usually only during the contagious stage of the virus (when bumps are still red).
- Nausea:
In the early stages of contagiousness.
- Myalgia (Muscle Pain).
- Anorexia:
Will not occur in most cases but has been linked to Chicken Pox.
- Malaise:
General Discomfort or Feeling Different than usual.
- Fever:
Anywhere from 38C-42C or 100F-108F (degrees).
Incubation period
- 1 to 5 days prior to symptoms it is contagious.
- It is also contagious until ALL blisters are dried and have formed scabs.
Major Complications:
- May cause Pneumonia (inflammatory condition of the lung) & encephalitis (acute inflammation of the brain).
Possible Complications for Pregnant Women or Newborn Children:
-Skin Disorders.
-Damage to Cervix & Spinal Cord.
-Damage to the eye.
-Damage to the brain.

Common Methods of Transmission:

- Coughing & Sneezing.
- Any physical contact with someone who is infected.
- Rarely, someone can get chicken pox from someone with shingles.

Treatment and Prevention (if any):

- through a vaccine that:
was made in 1974 by Michiaki Takahashi but was only available to North America in 1995
was deviated from the Oka Strain
- Washing hands daily.
- Short nails (to prevent cuts to skin).
- Pea Water w/ vinegar
- Baking Soda
- Vitamin E Oil
- Honey
- Herbal Tea
- Carrot and Coriander
- Stay away from heat and sweat as it makes symptoms more irritating
- Lotions
- Anti-itch creams

( Historical background if pertinent. Any unusual or interesting info? )
-Chicken pox has nothing to do with chickens, but there are several interesting ideas about how the name originated:
The blisters caused by chicken pox were once thought to look like chick peas, because of their similar size.
The rash looks like peck marks from a chicken.
Chicken pox was just a "wimpier version" of smallpox so they called it "chicken" pox.

Resources accessed:

no given author
title:chicken pox

Steven Dowshen MD
Title: About Chicken Pox
November 2009

John Mersch MD
Title: ChickenPox
June 4, 2008

no given author
Title: Varicella Zoster Virus

no given author
Title: Chicken Pox