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What causes chickenpox?

Chickenpox is caused by the varicella zoster virus. It can be spread either through close person-to-person contact, or through sneezing and coughing just like a cold or flu. Later in the illness, the virus is spread by direct contact with the fluid in the blisters. Chickenpox infection triggers an immune response and people rarely get chickenpox twice.

The infection is highly contagious to people who have never had chickenpox or who have not been vaccinated. You can also catch the virus by handling items and surfaces that have been contaminated, then transferring the virus to yourself by touching your face.

Children can develop chickenpox after being in contact with someone who has shingles. Anyone who has had chickenpox can develop shingles. People who have never had chickenpox can catch the virus from another person with shingles, but in this case they would develop chickenpox (not shingles).

Last reviewed: October 2016

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Chickenpox - myDr.com.au

Chickenpox, caused by the varicella zoster virus, is a highly infectious disease which mostly affects children.

Read more on myDr website

Chickenpox and Shingles Tests - Lab Tests Online AU

Varicella Zoster Virus Culture; Varicella Zoster Virus by PCR; Varicella Zoster Virus by DFA; Varicella Zoster Virus Antibodies, IgG and IgM

Read more on Lab Tests Online website

Chickenpox (varicella)

Chickenpox (varicella) is a viral disease caused by the varicella zoster virus.

Read more on WA Health website

Shingles

Shingles is a viral infection characterised by a painful rash on the skin. The infection is caused by the varicella zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox.

Read more on WA Health website

Chickenpox

Chickenpox is highly contagious, but it is generally mild and gets better without the need for special treatment.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

9 Things you should know about shingles

People who have had chickenpox can later develop shingles (herpes zoster), when the chickenpox virus re-activates. Shingles causes a painful rash.

Read more on myDr website

Chickenpox in adults - myDr.com.au

For those adults who didn't catch chickenpox in childhood, or who haven't been vaccinated, an attack of chickenpox can produce serious, sometimes lethal, complications.

Read more on myDr website

Chickenpox and Shingles

Chickenpox is a common viral infection that can reappear later in life as shingles. Vaccination is recommended for all infants and non immune adults.

Read more on NSW Health website

Shingles - myDr.com.au

Shingles is a painful rash caused by the chickenpox virus. Initial symptoms can be intense pain, burning or tingling on an area of skin on the face or body.

Read more on myDr website

Chickenpox | The Sydney Children's Hospitals Network

Read more on Sydney Children's Hospitals Network website

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