Chickenpox

Chickenpox is caused by the varicella zoster virus. It is highly infectious and in most cases a mild and self-limiting illness.

Most patients have mild features of systemic upset such as fever and lethargy. The typical chickenpox rash is characterised by red spots and vesicles (fluid filled spots), which can be intensely itchy. The spots usually start to scab over after 5-7 days.

Uncommon complications of chickenpox include ear infections, pneumonia and encephalitis. Certain at-risk groups can be more prone to complications and have a more severe course. These include immunocompromised and elderly patients. Contracting chickenpox in pregnancy can also have harmful effects to the fetus.

A chickenpox vaccine is available (not part of the standard immunisation schedule in the UK). This is given as 2 doses which should be 4 -8 weeks apart. The vaccine may be considered for those that have not had chickenpox before, especially if they are in close contact with people that are immunocompromised (e.g family members undergoing chemotherapy) or adults that are working in healthcare.

Key Points:
• 2 doses required
• Cost per dose £70
• Interaction with other vaccines: Has to be given on the same day as the MMR vaccine or at least 4 weeks after

Please contact us for further information.