varicella

varicella

[var-uh-sel-uh]
varicella: see chicken pox.
or varicella

Contagious viral disease producing itchy blisters. It usually occurs in epidemics among young children, causes a low fever, and runs a mild course, leaving patients immune. The blisters can scar if scratched. The virus that causes chickenpox (varicella-zoster virus) can reactivate years later, causing shingles. Zoster immune globulin (ZIG) can prevent chickenpox in children with leukemia or immunodeficiency disorders who are exposed to the virus. A vaccine has also been developed.

Learn more about chickenpox with a free trial on Britannica.com.

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