Varicella zoster virus

Common Name(s)

Varicella zoster virus

Varicella zoster virus (VZV) is a herpes virus that causes the chicken pox in children and shingles in adults. VZV first enters the body either through the respiratory tract or the eyes, and later infects the nervous system. Symptoms of fever and general discomfort are noticed between 10-21 days after initial exposure to the virus. A characteristic rash with red, spotted lesions will then appear in several stages, often spreading from the head downwards to the arms and legs. The rash will be more severe when seen in adults than in children.

Symptoms are most common in the winter and early spring. The disease may be spread through the air or by direct contact with infected individuals at any time until their rash has dried into crusted lesions. After symptoms clear, VZV remains inactive (latent) in nerves and results in lifetime immunity for most people. Reactivation later in life results in shingles (herpes zoster), which occurs in 50% of people by age 85. Shingles is most common in the elderly with weakened immune systems and who were exposed to VZV either while in the womb or at less than 18 months of age.

Complications occur most commonly in individuals younger than 1 year or older than 15 years of age, and in those with weakened immune systems due to other health problems. Complications are often caused by bacterial or viral infection of the skin lesions, especially in young children. Aseptic meningitis is the most common complication that affects the central nervous system, and will generally have mild symptoms. Encephalitis is a rarer and more serious complication that may result in seizures or coma.

Hospitalizations and complications from VZV have decreased since the introduction of the vaccine. Those affected with VZV should not take aspirin, as it may result in Reye’s syndrome, a serious condition that causes brain death and liver damage. If you have been diagnosed with VZV, talk to your doctor about the current treatment options.

Source: Advocacy organizations associated with the condition.

 

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Advocacy and Support Organizations

 

Condition Specific Organizations

Following organizations serve the condition "Varicella zoster virus" for support, advocacy or research.

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General Support Organizations

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Scientific Literature

Articles from the PubMed Database

Research articles describe the outcome of a single study. They are the published results of original research.
The terms "Varicella zoster virus" returned 836 free, full-text research articles on human participants. First 3 results:

Inborn errors in RNA polymerase III underlie severe varicella zoster virus infections.
 

Author(s): Benson Ogunjimi, Shen-Ying Zhang, Katrine B Sørensen, Kristian A Skipper, Madalina Carter-Timofte, Gaspard Kerner, Stefanie Luecke, Thaneas Prabakaran, Yujia Cai, Josephina Meester, Esther Bartholomeus, Nikhita Ajit Bolar, Geert Vandeweyer, Charlotte Claes, Yasmine Sillis, Lazaro Lorenzo, Raffaele A Fiorenza, Soraya Boucherit, Charlotte Dielman, Steven Heynderickx, George Elias, Andrea Kurotova, Ann Vander Auwera, Lieve Verstraete, Lieven Lagae, Helene Verhelst, Anna Jansen, Jose Ramet, Arvid Suls, Evelien Smits, Berten Ceulemans, Lut Van Laer, Genevieve Plat Wilson, Jonas Kreth, Capucine Picard, Horst Von Bernuth, Joël Fluss, Stephane Chabrier, Laurent Abel, Geert Mortier, Sebastien Fribourg, Jacob Giehm Mikkelsen, Jean-Laurent Casanova, Søren R Paludan, Trine H Mogensen

Journal: J. Clin. Invest.. 2017 Sep;127(9):3543-3556.

 

Varicella zoster virus (VZV) typically causes chickenpox upon primary infection. In rare cases, VZV can give rise to life-threatening disease in otherwise healthy people, but the immunological basis for this remains unexplained. We report 4 cases of acute severe VZV infection affecting ...

Last Updated: 7 Aug 2017

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Genetic analysis of varicella-zoster virus in the aqueous humor in uveitis with severe hyphema.
 

Author(s): Mayumi Hosogai, Yoko Nakatani, Kensuke Mimura, Shoji Kishi, Hideo Akiyama

Journal:

 

Genetic variations have been identified in the genome of varicella-zoster virus (VZV) strains using vesicle fluid, varicella scabs and throat swab samples. We report a rare case of VZV-associated uveitis with severe hyphema, which was immediately diagnosed by polymerase chain reaction ...

Last Updated: 16 Jun 2017

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Detection of herpes simplex-1 and -2 and varicella zoster virus by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction in corneas from patients with bacterial keratitis.
 

Author(s): Heloisa Nascimento, Aripuanã Watanabe, Ana Carolina Cabreira Vieira, Andrea Pelegrini, Maria Cecília Yu, Paulo José Martins Bispo, Celso Francisco Hernandes Granato, Ana Luisa Höfling-Lima

Journal: Arq Bras Oftalmol. ;80(2):84-87.

 

Bacterial keratitis occurs worldwide, and despite recent developments, it remains a potentially blinding condition. This study assesses the presence of herpes simplex virus (HSV-1 and -2) and varicella zoster virus (VZV) by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) in ...

Last Updated: 7 Jun 2017

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Reviews from the PubMed Database

Review articles summarize what is currently known about a disease. They discuss research previously published by others.
The terms "Varicella zoster virus" returned 58 free, full-text review articles on human participants. First 3 results:

Simultaneous Occurrence of Varicella Zoster Virus-Induced Pancreatitis and Hepatitis in a Renal Transplant Recipient: A Case Report and Review of Literature.
 

Author(s): Puneet Chhabra, Priyadarshi Ranjan, Deepak K Bhasin

Journal: Perm J. 2017 ;21():.

 

Gastrointestinal complications are common after renal transplantation, including oral lesions, esophagitis, gastritis, diarrhea, and colon carcinoma. The differential diagnosis is difficult in this scenario because multiple factors such as drugs, infections, and preexisting gastrointestinal ...

Last Updated: 23 Mar 2017

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Varicella zoster virus triggers the immunopathology of giant cell arteritis.
 

Author(s): Don Gilden, Maria A Nagel

Journal: Curr Opin Rheumatol. 2016 Jul;28(4):376-82.

 

Giant cell arteritis (GCA) is a severe form of vasculitis in the elderly. The recent discovery of varicella zoster virus (VZV) in the temporal arteries and adjacent skeletal muscle of patients with GCA, and the rationale and strategy for antiviral and corticosteroid treatment for GCA are reviewed.

Last Updated: 26 May 2016

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Herpes zoster ophthalmicus and varicella zoster virus vasculopathy.
 

Author(s): Francisco Bandeira, Marina Roizenblatt, Guido Carlos Levi, Denise de Freitas, Rubens Belfort

Journal: Arq Bras Oftalmol. 2016 Apr;79(2):126-9.

 

Herpes zoster (HZ) corresponds to the reactivation of varicella zoster virus (VZV). Among adults, the ophthalmic division of the trigeminal nerve is one of the most common sites of involvement. Vasculopathy caused by HZ is associated with significant morbidity and mortality, affecting ...

Last Updated: 26 May 2016

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Clinical Trial Information This information is provided by ClinicalTrials.gov

Efficacy Trial of a Vaccine to Prevent Herpes Zoster in Adults Over 40 Years of Age
 

Status: Recruiting

Condition Summary: Herpes Zoster

 

Last Updated: 18 Oct 2017

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Herpes Zoster Vaccine for Bone Marrow Transplant Donors
 

Status: Recruiting

Condition Summary: Herpes Zoster

 

Last Updated: 2 May 2017

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Safety and Tolerability of Herpes Zoster Vaccine Rheumatologic Patients
 

Status: Recruiting

Condition Summary: Herpes Zoster

 

Last Updated: 5 Feb 2017

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