CHICKEN POX VACCINE – INTRODUCTION

Chicken Pox is a common childhood infection caused by Varicella Zoster Virus.

Clinical Symptoms

  • It presents as sudden onset low-grade fever, body aches and rash
  •  The rash appears on first day of illness, usually on the trunk,back, shoulders and spreads to legs and arms over a period of 3-4 days. The rash may also involve the inner lining (mucosa) of mouth, throat, eyes and the genitals. The rashes tend to appear in crops; is associated with itching; appears as red spots, which turn into “tear drop” blisters and then dry up to form scabs. The condition generally improves within 7 days
  • The disease is usually mild in children with low complication rate; whereas, adults have a more severe attack.

It is highly ‘contagious’ and almost 80-90 % of at risk persons will get infected after exposure to a person with chicken pox. A person is infectious from 1-2 days before the appearance of rash till 5-7 days after the appearance of rash. Therefore, children need to be isolated at home for at least a week after appearance of rash.

An infection gives natural life long immunity in almost all individuals.

Possible Complications of Chicken Pox:

  • Secondary bacterial infections of skin and mucosa
  • Pneumonia
  • Ear infection
  • Bleeding into the lesions
  •  Arthritis, hepatitis, glomerulonephriitis (swelling of the kidneys).
  • Post chicken pox encephalitis (swelling of the brain)
  • Reactivation later on in life may result in Herpes Zoster.

Hence, prevention is important both for children as well as for adults.

A vaccine for Chicken pox is now available known as Varicella Vaccine.