Chickenpox is a highly contagious viral infection in which a person develops extremely itchy blisters all over the body and it is common childhood disease caused by a virus in the herpes family of viruses called the varicella virus. The varicella virus can remain in the body for decades and become active again in adults, causing herpes zoster (shingles). Shingles involves the occurrence of painful skin sores along the distribution of nerves across the trunk or face.
Itchy blisters on a red base, progressing to scabs, appear along with newer blisters, mainly on the trunk, face, and scalp and last 5 to 10 days. Other symptoms include fever, headache, tiredness and loss of appetite.
Chickenpox vaccine is very safe and effective at preventing the disease. Most people who get the vaccine will not get chickenpox. If a vaccinated person does get chickenpox, it is usually mild—with fewer blisters and mild or no fever. The chickenpox vaccine prevents almost all cases of severe disease.
Fifty-three percent (n: 57) were girls. Their median age was 84 months old [interquartile range (IQR): 24-144]. Ninetyfive percent (n: 102) had an underlying disease [hemato-oncological disease: 39% (n: 42); neurological disease: 18% (n: 19); congenital heart disease: 9% (n: 10); and post-operative period: 65 (n: 6)]. Fifty percent had some degree of immunosuppression (n: 54). Twenty-nine percent (n: 31) referred to have had varicella; 27% (n: 29) indicated that they never had the infection; and 41% (n: 44) did not recall a history of varicella. Only 3% (n: 3) had been vaccinated. Based on their immune status, age and history of varicella, acyclovir was indicated as prophylaxis in 61% (n: 65); immunization in 10% (n: 10); and gamma globulin in 1 patient.