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Chickenpox Research Paper

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CHICKENPOX
Chickenpox, also known as varicella, is a highly contagious disease which commonly
affects children aged 15 and below without immunity, although it also affects adults. The disease
is characterized by small, itchy blisters throughout the body which usually starts in the chest, back,
or face then spreads out later on. It is also sometimes accompanied by fever, loss of appetite,
headache, and tiredness (CDC, 2011). The disease could be spread when the person carrying the
varicella zoster virus coughs or sneezes. It could also be spread by direct contact with skin lesion.
People who have not had the disease or have not been vaccinated against it have a higher risk of
being infected. The risk for transmission increases in crowded places, especially in a school
environment or any educational institutions. This disease is known for a large number of cases and
death tolls in the 1900s because of the lack of vaccine reaching over 200,000 cases during the
1980s and 140 deaths during the 1970s (CDC, 2011).
VARICELLA ZOSTER VIRUS
The varicella zoster virus, also known as Human alphaherpesvirus 3 (HHV-3), is the
etiological agent of chickenpox (varicella) and shingles (herpes zoster). One of the diseases caused
by this virus, the chickenpox, can be fatal and severe in adults and can also result in complications
such as encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), pneumonia (an inflammatory condition of the
lungs), or bronchitis (an inflammatory condition affecting the bronchi) (NFID, n.d.). In the body
of a person previously infected with the varicella, the virus reactivates from the sensory ganglia in
that person’s body years or decades later, resulting in a disease called shingles or herpes zoster
which is characterized by red, painful blisters or rashes accompanied by fever, chills, fatigue, and
photophobia (sensitivity to light; only if the face is involved).

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The varicella zoster virus is a member of the herpesvirus family and Varicellovirus genus
and is characterized by a limited host of spectrum. The membership of the virus to the family stated
previously is based primarily on its virion’s structure which varies from sizes between 120 and
300 nanometers. It is described as a particle having a round or polygonal shape and contains a
clear visible central dot. The virus belonging to the herpesvirus family all contain a formation,
called core, where copy of a linear and double-stranded DNA is coiled upon a protein axis (Wolff,
M.H., et al. 1999).
TREATMENT AND PREVENTION
Currently, chickenpox has no specific treatment. However, there are certain medication to
help ease and alleviate the symptoms. For fever, paracetamol can be taken. To help ease the itching
of the blisters, calamine lotion and cooling gels can be used. For shingles, several antiviral
medicines, such as acyclovir, valacyclovir, and famciclovir, are available to treat the disease and
help shorten the longevity of the illness. But these medicines are most effective if they are taken
as soon as the rashes started to appear.
For prevention, two doses of the chickenpox vaccine are estimated to offer 98% of
protection in children and 75% protection in adolescents and adults. For shingles, the shingles
vaccination is available and two doses of this vaccine are recommended in healthy adults 50 years
old and older. Shingrix (shingles vaccine) offer an estimated 97% protection in adults aged 50 and
above.
For people affected with these diseases, avoid people with vulnerable immune systems to
prevent the further spread of the virus.

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CHICKENPOX Chickenpox, also known as varicella, is a highly contagious disease which commonly affects children aged 15 and below without immunity, although it also affects adults. The disease is characterized by small, itchy blisters throughout the body which usually starts in the chest, back, or face then spreads out later on. It is also sometimes accompanied by fever, loss of appetite, headache, and tiredness (CDC, 2011). The disease could be spread when the person carrying the varicella zoster virus coughs or sneezes. It could also be spread by direct contact with skin lesion. People who have not had the disease or have not been vaccinated against it have a higher risk of being infected. The risk for transmission increases in crowded places, especially in a school environment or any educational institutions. This disease is known for a large number of cases and death tolls in the 1900 ...
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