Pathophysiology: Little is known about the route and the source of transmission of the virus. VZV is certainly transmissible through the airborne route and does not require close personal contact. The skin lesions are certainly full of infectious virus particles whilst in contrast, it is almost impossible to isolate virus from the upper respiratory tract. It is possible that aerial transmission originates from symptomless oral lesions.
Disease statistics: Mean age was 9.2 years and the average hospital stay was 5.4 days. Bacterial skin or soft tissue infections were the most common complications (30%), followed by pneumonia (17%) and central nervous system complications (11.5%). There were no fatal cases throughout the study period. The calculated hospitalization rate for varicella was one in every 319 cases. Major differences between Jews and Bedouins included an older mean age of Bedouin patients (13.9 years versus 4.5 years); higher hospitalization rate (relative risk [R.R.]: 2.8, 95% confidence interval: 1.9-4.2), and higher risk for complicated varicella (R.R.: 2.1, 95% confidence interval: 1.3-3.4).
Treatment: Several studies indicate that antiviral medications decrease the duration of symptoms and the likelihood of postherpetic neuralgia, especially when initiated within 2 days of the onset of rash. In typical cases that involve individuals who are otherwise healthy, oral acyclovir may be prescribed. An important study by Kubeyinje (1997) suggested that the use of acyclovir in healthy young adults with zoster is not clearly justified, especially in situations of limited economic resources
Research: Hospitalization for primary varicella-zoster virus infection and its complications in patients from Southern Israel. Hospitalization of patients with varicella in southern Israel is common and varicella infection in Bedouins is associated with greater morbidity compared with that in Jews in southern Israel.