Chicken pox is a very common viral infection occurring all over the world. It is caused by the varicella-zoster virus or HHV-3. This disease is highly contagious with 90% SAR ( Secondary Attack Rate). Chicken pox spread by skin to skin contact and droplet inhalation Like Seasonal influenza. It is also known by a varicella incubation period of this infectious disease is 10-20 days.
Chicken pox is usually a mild self-limiting disease but complications may occur rarely. Skin infections by bacteria like staphylococcus or streptococcus are common. Cellulitis, scarlet fever or impetigo may occur. Other secondary bacterial infections like septic arthritis, epiglottitis, osteomyelitis, meningitis can also develop. Respiratory problems as pneumonia occur often in smokers or pregnant women. Children with chicken pox may be complicated by neurological symptoms. Cerebellar ataxia is seen in the younger age group. Fulminant hepatitis is a very rare complication may occur in HIV infected people.
If chicken pox develops within 1st trimester of pregnancy, it has a small risk of developing congenital varicella syndrome of the fetus. Congenital varicella syndrome includes cataract, growth retardation, microphthalmia, deafness, chorioretinitis and limb abnormalities. If chicken pox occurs during delivery it causes fatal infection named as neonatal varicella.
Chicken pox is diagnosed by clinical presentation. Sometimes, PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) or immunofluorescence test is done.