One to 17 days although extremes varying

One attack generally confers immunity for rest of the life.

Subsequent attacks are rare but in certain cases second attack of chickenpox may also occur.

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Causative Organism:

Chickenpox is caused by a filtrable virus called varicella zoster virus (V-Z virus) now termed as Human (alpha) herpes virus-3. The virus is so named because it causes both varicella (i.

e. chickenpox) and herpes zoster infection.

Mode of Spread:

The disease is transmitted from one person to another by droplet infection or by contact with skin. Freshly contaminated articles used by the patient can also transmit the disease.

Incubation Period:

Incubation period varies from 14 to 17 days although extremes varying from 7-21 days have been reported.

Signs and Symptoms:

There is sudden onset of mild fever and itching.

Rash appears in the form of crops on the trunk, face and limbs. Within 24 hours the lesions become pustular i.e. filled with pus. The pustules dry up in a few days to form scabs. Generally chickenpox is mild in children but tends to be more severe in adults.

Prevention and Control:

(i) Isolate the patient.

(ii) Disinfect all the articles used by the patient. (iii) Varicella Zoster immunoglobulin (V-Z 1 gm) given within 72 hours of exposure in a dose of 1.25 to 5 ml by intramuscular injection will impart passive immunity against chickenpox. (iv) There is no specific treatment for chickenpox.


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