Learn more about the varicella-zoster virus and the diseases it causes

The Varicella Zoster virus is very common on the planet. Almost all people living in civilization are infected with this virus. In children, primary infection is usually mild, but in adulthood, varicella-zoster can lead to very serious complications. Today we will talk about what varicella-zoster is, how it is treated, what diseases and symptoms of these diseases it provokes, and we will try to figure out how dangerous this herpes virus is.

The varicella-zoster virus (VVZ, VZV or herpes type 3) is a human herpesvirus type 3 (HVV-3) that causes two diseases:

With primary infection – chicken pox (varicella).
With a recurrence of the disease – herpes zoster (herpes zoster).
Chickenpox is called a childhood disease, although a person may be first infected with the herpes simplex virus type 3 in adulthood. But still, most people become infected with this virus in childhood. Some people think they didn’t get chickenpox as children because they simply didn’t have the symptoms of chickenpox. But in most cases, these are erroneous conclusions, just chicken pox in childhood can be transferred without obvious symptoms.

Herpes zoster (shingles) is a relapse of the varicella-zoster virus in adulthood. It can be especially severe and is a neurological disease. Chickenpox recurrence is not the same as secondary infection with the varicella-zoster virus, it is a manifestation of the chronic course of the varicella zoster virus, when the immune system suppresses the type 3 herpes virus throughout life and a relapse occurs when immunity fails. Secondary infection with chickenpox is also possible, but unlikely.

The varicella-zoster virus is called “chickenpox” for a reason. It spreads by airborne droplets and has a very high degree of volatility. That is, when released from an infected person, the virus can travel long distances. Getting the virus into the body of another person guarantees almost one hundred percent infection. When children get chickenpox, most people around you may be infected, but if you already have antibodies to chickenpox, then the person is safe.

Consider how the virus behaves when it first enters a new organism:

initially, viral cells enter the mouth;
through the mouth, the virus is introduced into the internal systems of the body;
then it begins to multiply in these systems;
after which the first symptoms appear.
From the internal systems, varicella-zoster penetrates into such as: lymphatic vessels, circulatory system, lung tissues, spinal cord, autonomic and nervous systems. After the incubation period of chickenpox passes, the first skin symptoms appear.

The virus, which is released outside and begins to spread in search of a carrier, is released from the patient’s nasopharynx. The viral cells contained in the blistering rash are not the main culprits of the epidemic.

Symptoms of varicella-zoster virus should be divided into symptoms of chickenpox and herpes zoster. The symptoms of chickenpox will be given below, since varicella-zoster, at the very beginning, provokes chickenpox.

Consider the signs of chickenpox in the classical form of the flow:

during the incubation period, the temperature rises;
when the period of illness has already begun, a rash appears;
rashes appear first on the head;
then descend to the face and abdomen;
there is itching in the area of ​​​​wind rash;
after, the vesicles of the rash dry up and heal.
Chickenpox has several forms, there is a more severe course of the disease with high fever and very extensive rashes, in other cases it goes away without symptoms at all. It all depends on the state of the immune system and age at the time of primary infection. The older the person, the more difficult it is for the body to endure the first meeting with the varicella-zoster virus.

1 Chicken pox. 2 Herpes zoster.
If varicella zoster has entered a child’s body with a good immune system, it is very easy to treat it. Most often, ordinary greenery is enough, although it is not used at all for treatment, but in order to control new rashes. That is, it is necessary to treat common symptoms:

relieve fever with antipyretics, but you can’t take aspirin;
if itching, ask the doctor to prescribe antihistamines;
bathe the child in warm water to relieve the condition.
Perhaps these are the main methods of treating herpes of the third type in mild and classical forms.

In special cases, when chickenpox is severe, additional funds must be used. There are special anti-herpetic drugs that fight directly with the herpes virus. And if the disease is difficult, these drugs are prescribed, based on the individual characteristics of the patient, such as age, pregnancy, the state of the immune system, and the presence of other diseases.

Usually, infection with the herpes virus type 3 is calm. Complications appear either with a secondary infection or with a recurrence of the disease in the form of herpes zoster, since herpes zoster already indicates a depressed immune system. Or with immunodeficiency.

The varicella-zoster virus can cause the following complications:

scarring – they are also called “pockmarks”, they look like deep round scars;
secondary infection of the skin with bacterial diseases;
cerebellar ataxia, Reye’s syndrome, encephalitis;
pneumonia – usually manifests itself in adults;
hepatitis is the most common complication in the presence of immunodeficiency;
The danger of varicella-zoster virus is for people with immunodeficiency. It is commonly seen in children with various lymphomas, leukemias, and tumors.

When diagnosing the varicella-zoster virus, it is necessary to differentiate chickenpox from other viruses and diseases, such as:

coxsackie virus;
staphylococcal impetigo;
simple herpes.
Typically, laboratory tests are performed in infants and children with immunodeficiency, as well as in severe illness or with an atypical manifestation. For analysis, you will need to donate blood or a smear.

Summing up, it is worth noting that today there is a vaccination against varicella-zoster. It is not mandatory, but can solve many problems, especially when planning a pregnancy or when there is a risk of primary infection.

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