Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-857cdc78dc-gxlhd Total loading time: 0.565 Render date: 2022-05-16T06:26:25.302Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true }

28 - Varicella-zoster virus (VZV)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 December 2009

Goura Kudesia
Affiliation:
Sheffield Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Tim Wreghitt
Affiliation:
Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge
Get access

Summary

The virus

Varicella-zoster virus is a double-stranded DNA virus and a member of the Herpesviridae family of viruses.

Epidemiology

Route of spread

Varicella-zoster virus is transmitted by the airborne route, from respiratory secretions and from vesicles on the skin. After entry through the respiratory route there is an initial period of viraemia, which seeds the virus in the reticulo-endothelial system. This is followed by a second episode of viraemia resulting in dissemination of the virus throughout the body and manifestations of the typical chickenpox vesicular rash on the skin surface.

Prevalence

Varicella-zoster virus infection occurs worldwide and the prevalence of infection varies considerably. While 95% of people in industrialized countries have had chickenpox by the age of 20 years (although about 20% will have had such a mild infection that they may be unaware of this), in the tropics, only 50% of people have had chickenpox by the age of 20 years.

Incubation period

10–23 days (mean 14 days).

Infectious period

From 2 days before the onset of symptoms until 5 days after the rash or all the skin lesions are fully crusted.

At-risk groups

  • Immunocompromised persons

  • Pregnant women

  • Unborn babies in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, and babies one week before or after delivery.

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2009

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×