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: The epidemiological patterns of varicella-zoster virus (VZV) infection, which are strongly associated with climate, are characterized by more frequent infections occurring among children in temperate regions than in the tropics. In temperate regions, varicella exhibits a seasonal cyclic behavior in which the number of cases increases significantly during the winter and spring seasons, further supporting the role of environmental factors in disease transmission. However, the underlying mechanisms responsible for this distinctive behavior are not fully understood.
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. Other medications, including valacyclovir, penciclovir, and famciclovir, are also available.
Research: The epidemiology of varicella showed an intriguing pattern, in which warmer regions were characterized by higher incidences than in temperate regions. Young children were the most affected age group. There was no correlation between varicella incidence and overcrowding or population density.