HISTORY Chicken Pox is a viral infection that has been around for a very long time. It was first identified by the Persian physician, Muhammad ibn Zakariya ar-Razi (865–925), who clearly distinguished it from smallpox and measles. Giovanni Filippo (1510–1580) later provided a more detailed description of chickenpox. In the 1600s, an English physician named Richard Morton described what he thought a mild form of smallpox as "chicken pox". Later, in 1767, a physician named William Heberden, also from England, was the first physician to clearly demonstrate that chickenpox was different from smallpox. However, it is believed the name chickenpox was commonly used in earlier centuries before doctors identified the disease. Muhammad ibn Zakariya ar-Razi Giovanni Filippo William Heberden
ETIOLOGY Chicken pox is a highly contagious disease, caused by a virus which belongs to the herpes family. This virus is known as varicella-zoster virus and also as the Herpes Zoster virus. Not only chicken pox is produced by it but shingles is too. Chickenpox occurs mostly during the end of the winter and the beginning of the spring. It generally affects children aged from 2 to 8 and can take the form of epidemics. The virus is known to be present in the body long before the skin rash appears; this is the reason why there are so many cases of contamination. After the virus got into your body it generally needs two weeks to develop and only then the rash will appear. But this does not mean that you are not contagious within these two weeks. After the disease had terminated the virus will not disappear completely, it will shed inside the nervous cells and will remain inactive for some years. At some point, when the immune system will work improperly the virus will reactivate and will cause shingles. This is a painful disease that affects the face and trunk nerves and also causes a rash to appear.
Since children are contagious before the onset of the rash, there must be another mode of transmission, it can be transmitted by numerous methods including airborne transmission, direct contact, and droplet transmission; for example, if someone is infected with the chickenpox virus and if that someone coughs or sneezes. Less commonly, the virus will flow through the air then the other person will have the virus, he or she will suffer Chicken pox for a long period. TRANSMISSION Varicella Cell
Symptoms of chicken pox can begin with 1 to 2 days of low-grade. These early symptoms of chicken pox do not always occur before the chicken pox rash develops. Early symptoms of chicken pox are followed by itchy blisters that first appear on the trunk, face, and scalp. These blisters can spread over the entire body, causing between 250 and 500 itchy blisters. Eventually, the blisters crust over. Most symptoms of chicken pox occur in people less than 15 years old. Symptoms of chicken pox most commonly last about 5-10 days. Children usually miss 5 or 6 days of school or childcare due to their chicken pox. About 1 in 10 children who first have symptoms of chickenpox will have a complication serious enough to require a visit to a healthcare provider.
Rash (red spots)
Blisters filled with fluid
PREVENTION The easiest way of preventing chickenpox transmission is by getting the chickenpox vaccine . About 8 to 9 out of every 10 people who are vaccinated are completely protected from chickenpox. The vaccine almost always prevents against severe disease. If a vaccinated person does get chickenpox, it is usually a very mild case with fewer skin lesions (usually less than 50). It generally lasts only a few days and involves no fever or a mild fever, and few other symptoms.
All children between 12 and 18 months of age should have one dose of chickenpox vaccine.
Children between 19 months and 13 years old, who have not had chickenpox, should be vaccinated with a single dose.
People 13 and older who have not had chickenpox should get two doses of the vaccine 4 to 8 weeks.
Baths are sometimes helpful to relieve itching. Oatmeal baths can be prepared at home also by grinding or blending dry oatmeal into a fine powder and adding about 2 cups to the bath water. One-half to one cup of baking soda may also be added to bath water to reduce itching. The most common lotion used for chicken pox is Calamine lotion. This or any similar over-the-counter preparation can be applied to the blisters to help dry them out and soothe the skin. Over-the-counter and prescription antihistamines may be used to control severe itching. Diphenhydramine is available over-the-counter and hydroxyzine is available by prescription. Both of these antihistamines cause drowsiness and may be helpful at night to help the patient sleep. Scratching increases the risk of secondary bacterial infections. All patients with chicken pox should have their nails trimmed short. In addition, small children may have to wear mittens to reduce scratching. TREATMENT OATMEAL BATHS AND MEDICINE
BIBLIOGRAPHY GENERAL FORMAT: Paul F. Basch, (1994); Vaccines and World Health: New York, Oxford University. Bryan Bunch, (1997); Diseases: Danbury, Grolier Educational. INTERNET WEBSITE Kids Health (1995). Retrieved June 10, 2002, from http://kidshealth.org/kid/ill_injure/sick/chicken_pox.html