Chickenpox is caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV), also known as human herpes virus 3 (HHV-3), which is a member of the herpes family and is known to cause herpes zoster (shingles) in adults.
The best defence against chicken pox is immunisation. However, there are misguided and misinformed people who refuse vaccination for themselves and their children. To protect these foolish people, and visitors to your area from other countries who may not been vaccinated, chickenpox sufferers should remain isolated in their houses until 4 days have after the symptoms have passed.
Because the chickenpox virus is airborne and highly contagious, it is a particularly difficult disease to avoid. For these reasons, it is a very common childhood disease.
For instance, it is possible to catch chickenpox from someone walking along the next aisle at a supermarket, even when these people arent yet aware that they have the disease.
The varicella (chickenpox) vaccine is an important part of the routine immunization schedule for children. This vaccine is virtually 100% effective against moderate or severe cases of the disease, and about 85-90% effective against mild forms of the disease.
The chickenpox vaccine is one of the few vaccines that does not require a booster. Once you have been immunized, most people are safe from chickenpox for life.
However, a secondary dose of the vaccine may be given later in life to help avoid herpes zoster (shingles). Re-immunization with the higher dose is currently being considered by many vaccination experts.
Non-immune persons who have been exposed to chickenpox may receive varicella vaccine within 3 days (72 hours) of the exposure to prevent or diminish the severity of illness.
Adolescents 13 years of age or older and adults who have not received the vaccine and have not already had chickenpox including:
- Healthcare workers.
People in contact with immuno-compromised persons.
Residents and staff in institutional settings.
Inmates and staff of correctional institutions.
Non-pregnant women of childbearing age.
Teachers and day care workers.
People who work with or near crowds of people, such as at markets, malls, train stations, buses, and so on.
Varicella vaccine is also very safe. The most common side effects are mild and may include pain and redness at the injection site. A mild rash may develop. As with any medicine, there are very small risks that serious problems could occur after getting a vaccine. However, the potential risks associated with varicella disease are much greater than the potential risks associated with the varicella vaccine.