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.

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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 850 free, full-text research articles on human participants. First 3 results:

Varicella zoster virus-associated Chorioretinitis: a case report.
 

Author(s): Joo Yeon Kim, Ji Hwan Lee, Christopher Seungkyu Lee, Sung Chul Lee

Journal:

 

Chorioretinitis is an unusual form of varicella zoster virus (VZV)-associated uveitis, and no report has described VZV-associated chorioretinitis using serial optical coherence tomography (OCT) images obtained during the course of resolution.

Last Updated: 31 Dec 1969

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Varicella zoster virus-associated morbidity and mortality in Africa - a systematic review.
 

Author(s): Hannah Hussey, Leila Abdullahi, Jamie Collins, Rudzani Muloiwa, Gregory Hussey, Benjamin Kagina

Journal:

 

Varicella zoster virus (VZV) causes varicella and herpes zoster. These vaccine preventable diseases are common globally. Most available data on VZV epidemiology are from industrialised temperate countries and cannot be used to guide decisions on the immunization policy against VZV ...

Last Updated: 31 Dec 1969

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Varicella zoster virus - need for better infection prevention and control.
 

Author(s): Per H Bjark, Egil Lingaas

Journal:

 

Last Updated: 31 Dec 1969

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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:

Is chickenpox so bad, what do we know about immunity to varicella zoster virus, and what does it tell us about the future?
 

Author(s): Anne A Gershon

Journal: J. Infect.. 2017 Jun;74 Suppl 1():S27-S33.

 

Varicella and zoster continue to cause significant morbidity and even mortality in children and adults. Complications include bacterial superinfection, central nervous system manifestations such as meningitis, encephalitis, and cerebellar ataxia, and pain syndromes especially post ...

Last Updated: 31 Dec 1969

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A critical appraisal of 'Shingrix', a novel herpes zoster subunit vaccine (HZ/Su or GSK1437173A) for varicella zoster virus.
 

Author(s): Tehmina Bharucha, Damien Ming, Judith Breuer

Journal: Hum Vaccin Immunother. 2017 Aug;13(8):1789-1797.

 

HZ/Su, branded as 'Shingrix', is one of the newest vaccines to be submitted for multi-national regulatory approval. It is targeted to prevent shingles, a global concern with aging populations. A live attenuated vaccine for shingles has been available for over a decade, however it ...

Last Updated: 31 Dec 1969

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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: 31 Dec 1969

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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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Safety and Tolerability of Herpes Zoster Vaccine Rheumatologic Patients
 

Status: Recruiting

Condition Summary: Herpes Zoster

 

Last Updated: 28 Jan 2018

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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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