What Causes Chickenpox?

Causes of Chickenpox

Chickenpox is caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV), which is highly contagious. The virus spreads from person to person through direct contact with the fluid from chickenpox blisters or through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Here are the main causes and modes of transmission:

  1. Direct contact: The primary mode of transmission is direct contact with an infected person. Touching the fluid-filled blisters of an infected individual can spread the virus.
  2. Airborne transmission: VZV can also be transmitted through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The virus can remain in the air for a short period, and if others inhale the contaminated droplets, they may become infected.
  3. Contaminated surfaces: In some cases, the virus can persist on surfaces or objects that have come into contact with an infected individual’s fluid or respiratory secretions. Touching these contaminated surfaces and then touching the face can lead to infection.

It’s important to note that chickenpox is highly contagious even before the characteristic rash appears. An infected person can spread the virus from about 1-2 days before the rash appears until all the blisters have crusted over, which typically takes about 5-7 days.

Once a person has been infected with the varicella-zoster virus and recovers from chickenpox, the virus remains dormant in the body, specifically in nerve cells. It can later reactivate and cause a condition known as shingles (herpes zoster) in some individuals.

Vaccination has significantly reduced the incidence of chickenpox in many countries. The varicella vaccine is recommended for children and adults who have not had chickenpox or have not been vaccinated to prevent the disease or reduce its severity if contracted.

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