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Chickenpox (Varicella)

Father Checking Temperature of Son Sick With Chickenpox.

Chickenpox is a very contagious disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV). It causes a blister-like rash, itching, tiredness, and fever. The rash appears first on the trunk and face and can spread over the entire body causing between 250 and 500 itchy blisters…

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Chickenpox Topics

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About Chickenpox

Overview, signs & symptoms, transmission, complications, prevention, treatment photos…

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Vaccination

Information about chickenpox vaccine, who should be vaccinated, vaccination options, vaccine safety…

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For Health Care Professionals

Clinical features, complications, interpretation of laboratory tests, assessing immunity to chickenpox…

Young woman sitting by microscope, writing, side view Laboratory Testing

Guidelines for collecting and shipping specimens to CDC lab…

Surveillance. Surveillance

Information about monitoring chickenpox cases, outbreaks, and deaths…

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Outbreaks

Summary of chickenpox outbreaks in the U.S., guidelines for investigating and controlling outbreaks…

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References and Resources

Scientific articles and educational materials related to chickenpox…

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Multimedia

Feature story and podcast related to chickenpox…

Signs & Symptoms

If you have never had chickenpox or chickenpox vaccine, typical symptoms are:

If you have been vaccinated for chickenpox, some people can still get the disease, but it is usually mild with fewer blisters and low or no fever.

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Get Vaccinated to Protect Yourself and Others

Recently a 4-year-old girl with leukemia died from chickenpox. People with compromised immune systems have a greater risk of severe complications from chickenpox and may not be able to get the chickenpox vaccine. That’s why it’s important that these people be protected by herd immunity, meaning those who can’t get vaccinated are protected because those who can get vaccinated do.

You can protect others by staying up-to-date on your vaccines. You should get two doses of chickenpox vaccine to prevent chickenpox.

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Passing of a Vaccine Pioneer

Dr. Michiaki Takahashi, who developed the chickenpox vaccine in the mid 1970s at Osaka University, died December 15, 2013 at the age of 85.

In a 2011 article, Dr. Takahashi recounted how his mission to develop a vaccine began after his son got chickenpox. “He was in a terrible way and all my wife and I could do was to watch him day and night.... I realized then that I should use my knowledge of viruses to develop a chickenpox vaccine.”

Each year, millions of people in the U.S. and worldwide are protected from severe disease from chickenpox thanks to Dr. Takahashi’s work.

Chickenpox Fact Sheet

A fact sheet for parents that describes symptoms of infection as well as benefits and risks of vaccination.

NOTE: B&W (black & white), office printing PDF is Section 508-compliant.

B&W [2 pages]


Fact Sheet for Kids: Chickenpox Blister Sisters

Chickenpox information for kids.Meet the chickenpox blister sisters, disease villains who make their victims (usually kids) itch like crazy from chickenpox rash…

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Want to Know More About Chickenpox?

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Download CDC’s mobile app now!
Click “Disease of the Week,” find chickenpox, and take the quiz to test your knowledge!
Available on iOS, Android and Windows 8 tablets

Treatment

For people with chickenpox, call a health care provider if the person

Calamine lotion and colloidal oatmeal baths may help relieve some of the itching.

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