Infections

Expert reports about Infections


INFORMATION FOR WOMEN WHO HAVE CHICKEN POX (VARICELLA) WHILE PREGNANT OR BREASTFEEDING

 

What is chickenpox?

Chickenpox is an infectious disease caused by a virus called varicella zoster. It used to be a very common disease in school-aged children, for a couple of reasons, the first being that it is extremely contagious through sneezing or coughing, or by direct contact. The second reason was that varicella was notorious for producing more serious disease in adults and teens, plus it was well-known that having the disease usually confers life-long immunity (although later a person can develop a disease called shingles). Knowing this, during school outbreaks of the virus, it was common for parents to expose uninfected siblings of infected children on purpose in order to finish with the virus for the entire household. However, this practice has subsided since the mid 1990s when a vaccine for varicella was licensed in the US and its use became more common.


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