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Chicken Pox - By: Poonam Narsih (Block C)

Scientific Name:       


The scientific name for chicken pox is Varicella zoster (VZV), and is also known as human herpes virus 3 (HHV-3), one of the eight herpes viruses known to affect humans. 


Disease/Disorder caused by virus:   Chicken Pox


Structure of Varicella zoster:





The Varicella-zoster virus has a core consisting of a double-stranded DNA genome (an organism’s whole hereditary information).  It is surrounded by a capsid, which is the protein coat or shell of a virus.  The nucleocapsid (DNA genome with the capsid) is composed of 162 protein units that make up the capsid, called capsomeres.  The capsid forms an 80-120nm icosahedron.  The nucleocapsid is enclosed in the lipid envelope, which is the part used to enter a host cell.  The region between the nucleocapsid and the lipid envelope is called the proteinaceous tegument, which is not clearly differentiated, and acts as a covering over the nucleocapsid. 


How Varicella zoster is transmitted:


Varicella zoster is transmitted through the air.  When an infected person coughs or sneezes, they spread tiny droplets that carry the virus.  If a person who has never had chicken pox inhales these particles, the virus enters the lungs, and is carried through the blood and to the skin, where it causes the typical rash.  The droplets with the virus initially infect the respiratory tissues. 


How transmission can be prevented:


The best way to prevent transmission of Varicella zoster is for the people who are infected to stay home and avoid exposing others who are susceptible (nonimmune children or pregnant women who are not immune).  One should stay home for one week after the skin lesions begin, or until the lesions become dry and crusted.  One should also wash their hands often, especially after eating and using the bathroom. 


Body Cells Attacked:



The Varicella zoster virus initially attacks the cells of the upper respiratory tract, where it reproduces over a period of 15 days or more (incubation period).  The virus then spreads to the bloodstream, and then goes to the skin, causing the familiar rash. 


Symptoms of Infection:

  • Fever

  • Headache

  • Sore throat

  • Fatigue

  • General sick feeling (malaise)

  • Loss of appetite

  • Red spots (after 14-16 days of incubation)


Body’s defence against Varicella zoster:

The easiest way to prevent being infected with Varicella zoster is to get vaccinated.  However, vaccination is only successful 70% to 90% of the time.  Vaccination results in the production of antibodies within the body which would help protect against infection.  Without the vaccine, one’s only defence would be to stay away from people who are infected (if one is not immune already). 






Treatment usually involves treating the symptoms and making the patient more comfortable.  Headache, fever, fatigue, and muscle aches are generally treated with acetaminophen (Tylenol).  Soothing baths with oatmeal are used to relieve itching.  Over-the-counter and prescription antihistamines may be used to control severe itching.  Calamine lotion is applied to the lesions to help dry them out and soothe the skin.  Acyclovir is an anti-viral drug that may be used to treat chicken pox. 




Varilrix is a vaccine used in children 9 months and older, adolescents, and adults to prevent chicken pox.  It works by causing the body to produce antibodies to protect from infection. 


5 Interesting Facts:


  1. A person usually gets chicken pox only once in their lifetime.  However, VZV can lie dormant within the body and cause a different type of skin eruption later in life, called shingles (Herpes zoster). 

  1. Getting the chicken pox vaccine does not eliminate the chance of getting shingles later on in life. 

  1. People who haven’t had chicken pox can catch it from someone who has shingles.  However, they cannot catch shingles itself. 

  1. If a pregnant woman who hasn’t had chicken pox contracts it, especially within the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, the fetus will be at risk for eye problems, scars, and developmental problems. 

  1. If a woman develops shingles during pregnancy, there is no risk to the developing baby. 









By: Nicole Kelly

Block: D

1. Virus name

  • Chickenpox is common name for Varicella Zoster.

2. Disease or disorder caused by virus

  • Chickenpox is caused by human herpes virus 3 (HHV-3)

3. Description of virus structure (drawing)

  • Characteristic spots appear in two or three waves, mainly on body and head rather then the hands and they become itchy raw pox. The open sores usually heal without scarring

4. How is the virus transmitted?

  • Spreads from person to person by direct contact
  • Through the air from an infected person coughing or sneezing
  • Toughing the fluid from a chickenpox blister


5. How can transmitting be prevented?

  • Stay away from people with chickenpox
  • Keep your children home if they are infected with chickenpox

6. Describe the type of the body cells attacked

  •  The chickenpox virus remains in the nerve root cells of the body.

(They are bundles of nerves that transmit sensory information from the skin to the brain.)

7. What are the symptoms of infection?

  • Backache
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • A rash (red spots)
  • Blisters filled with liquid
  • Mild fever between 101 and 105 F and returns to normal when blisters disappear.

8. How does the body defend itself?

  • You are always in danger of get chickenpox unless you have got vaccinated and then you are still at some risk.
  • The blisters dry out and form scabs and once this happens your starting to become better.

9. Are there any treatments/vaccines? If so describe.

  • Treatments: In baths sodium bicarbonate (salt) or antihistamie to ease the itching
  • Treatments: Good idea to maintain good hygiene to prevent secondary infection.
  • Vaccination: Varicella vaccination. Around since 1995, the vaccination is not lifelong and is necessary to get vaccinated 5 years after first vaccination.

Normal Reactions: Fever of 101.9 up to 42 days after vaccination,                    soreness/ itchy around the injection site, Rash occurs 8-19 after injection.

10. 5 interesting facts.

  • If a pregnant women gets chickenpox her baby is in risk of brain damage.
  • The disease was named after chick peas
  • Some believe it was a plague that children got by using black magic.
  • About 1 in 10 adults who had chickenpox will experience shingels
  • You are only able to pass chickenpox on within the first 2 days of having it, before your rash start to appear.










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