Varicella is caused by Herpesvirus varicellae, also known as the Varicella zoster virus.
Typical varicella lesions are clear, tense vesicles, surrounded by an erythematous halo, that erupt over the skin surface, after a 9 to 21 day incubation, and a day or two of fever and malaise. They change from clear to turbid pustules in 2 to 3 days. Lesions then break, producing crusts.
In the newborn, or in immune compromised individuals, large bullae can appear, and these bullae can be hemorrhagic.
- Oral acyclovir 400-800 mg, 5 times daily, can ameliorate the disease, if taken early.
- It is possible that early treatment with an acyclovir might reduce the host immune response to future varicella infections.
- Varicella vaccines
- Post-exposure use of VZIG