Complications from chickenpox can occur, but they are not common in healthy people who get the disease.
People who may get a serious case of chickenpox and may be at high risk for complications include
- Pregnant women
- People with weakened immune systems because of illness or medications; for example,
- People with HIV/AIDS or cancer
- Patients who have had transplants, and
- People on chemotherapy, immunosuppressive medications, or long-term use of steroids.
For more information, see People at High Risk for Varicella Complications.
Serious complications from chickenpox include
- bacterial infections of the skin and soft tissues in children including Group A streptococcal infections
- infection or inflammation of the brain (encephalitis, cerebellar ataxia)
- bleeding problems
- blood stream infections (sepsis)
Some people with serious complications from chickenpox can become so sick that they need to be hospitalized. Chickenpox can also cause death.
Some deaths from chickenpox continue to occur in healthy, unvaccinated children and adults. Many of the healthy adults who died from chickenpox contracted the disease from their unvaccinated children.Top of Page
- Page last reviewed: July 1, 2016
- Page last updated: April 11, 2016
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