Complications of Chickenpox


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About complications: Complications of Chickenpox are secondary conditions, symptoms, or other disorders that are caused by Chickenpox. In many cases the distinction between symptoms of Chickenpox and complications of Chickenpox is unclear or arbitrary.

Complications list for Chickenpox: The list of complications that have been mentioned in various sources for Chickenpox includes:

  • Herpes zoster - usually occurring years or decades later, especially in older persons.

Complications of Chickenpox: Chickenpox is another example of a latent infection. Before the chickenpox vaccine became available in the 1990s, most children in the United States got chickenpox. After the first acute episode, usually when children are very young, the Varicella zoster virus goes into hiding in the body. In many people, it emerges many years later when they are older adults and causes a painful disease of the nerves called herpes zoster, or shingles.1

Adults are more likely to have a more serious case of chickenpox with a higher rate of complications and death. 2

Some people who have had chickenpox may develop shingles later in life. Shingles is caused by a reactivation of the same virus that produces chickenpox.3

Footnotes:
1. excerpt from Microbes in Sickness and in Health - Publications, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: NIAID
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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