Basic Summary for Chickenpox


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Main name of condition: Chickenpox
Other names or spellings: Varicella, Varicella zoster virus, VZV


What is Chickenpox?
  Brief description of Chickenpox: Common viral infection.
  Parent types of Chickenpox: Herpesvirus, Viral diseases, Vaccine-preventable diseases
  Types of Chickenpox: Shingles
How many people get Chickenpox?
  Incidence (annual) of Chickenpox: 120,624 annually (1995); 46,016 annual cases notified in USA 1999 (MMWR 1999); 199.14 per 100,000 in Canada 20001
  Incidence Rate of Chickenpox: approx 1 in 2,254 or 0.04% or 120,624 people in USA [about data]
  Prevalance of Chickenpox: Almost everyone gets chickenpox by adulthood (more than 95% of Americans). Chickenpox is highly contagious. CDC estimates that 4 million cases occur each year. 2
Who gets Chickenpox?
  Patient Profile for Chickenpox: Mostly children; sometimes adults.
How serious is Chickenpox?
  Prognosis of Chickenpox: While chickenpox is a mild disease for children, adults usually get much sicker.3
  Deaths for Chickenpox: approximately 100 deaths (CDC-OC)
  Complications of Chickenpox: see complications of Chickenpox
What causes Chickenpox?
  Class of Condition for Chickenpox: viral
  Causes of Chickenpox: see causes of Chickenpox
  Risk factors for Chickenpox: see risk factors for Chickenpox
What are the symptoms of Chickenpox?
  Incubation period for Chickenpox: 2-3 weeks; or typically about 14 days but may be 11-20 days.
  Incubation period for Chickenpox: Chickenpox develops within 10-21 days after contact with an infected person.2
  Seasonality of Chickenpox: The greatest number of cases of chickenpox occur in the late winter and spring. 2
  Symptoms of Chickenpox: see symptoms of Chickenpox
Can anyone else get Chickenpox?
  Contagion of Chickenpox: Spread directly from infected persons; also spread by older people with shingles.
  More information: see contagiousness of Chickenpox
How is it treated?
  Treatments for Chickenpox: see treatments for Chickenpox
  Prevention of Chickenpox: see prevention of Chickenpox
Society issues for Chickenpox
  Costs of Chickenpox: estimated $918 million in 1993
  Costs of Chickenpox: In the United States, the annual cost of caring for children of normal health who contract chickenpox was estimated as $918 million in 1993. 2
  Hospitalizations for Chickenpox: approximately 5,000-9,000 hospitalizations (CDC-OC)
  Hospitalization statistics for Chickenpox: The following are statistics from various sources about hospitalizations and Chickenpox:
  • 0.028% (3,561) of hospital consultant episodes were for varicella (chickenpox) in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 93% of hospital consultant episodes for varicella (chickenpox) required hospital admission in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 56% of hospital consultant episodes for varicella (chickenpox) were for men in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 44% of hospital consultant episodes for varicella (chickenpox) were for women in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 95% of hospital consultant episodes for varicella (chickenpox) required emergency hospital admission in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 2.5 days was the mean length of stay in hospitals for varicella (chickenpox) in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 1 days was the median length of stay in hospitals for varicella (chickenpox) in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 10 was the mean age of patients hospitalised for varicella (chickenpox) in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 22% of hospital consultant episodes for varicella (chickenpox) occurred in 15-59 year olds in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 1% of hospital consultant episodes for varicella (chickenpox) occurred in people over 75 in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 1% of hospital consultant episodes for varicella (chickenpox) were single day episodes in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 0.016% (8,214) of hospital bed days were for varicella (chickenpox) in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)


Footnotes:
1. Notifiable Diseases Online, PPHB, Canada, 2000
2. excerpt from Facts About Chickenpox (Varicella): CDC-OC
3. excerpt from Shots for Safety - Age Page - Health Information: NIA

Last revision: October 23, 2003

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