Varicella (Chickenpox and Shingles)
Chickenpox (varicella) is caused by varicella zoster virus (VZV). It is often a mild illness, but may be severe in infants, pregnant women, adults, and persons with weakened immune systems. An itchy rash starts on the trunk and face with pink spots and tiny fluid-filled blisters ("pox") that then dry and become scabs in 4 to 5 days.
Shingles, also called herpes zoster or zoster, is a painful skin rash caused by the varicella zoster virus (VZV). After a person recovers from chickenpox, the virus stays in the body for life. Usually the virus does not cause any problems; however, it can reappear years later, causing shingles.
Resources for the general public
Resources for health care professionals
- Varicella-associated deaths are reportable in King County: See disease reporting requirements
- Chickenpox – Clinical resources and vaccine information, CDC
- Shingles - Clinical resources and vaccine information, CDC
- Varicella chapter from the CDC's Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases
- Varicella chapter from CDC's Health Information for International Travel