Varicella-Zoster Virus

Also known as: VZV, chickenpox (varicella), shingles (herpes zoster).

What is varicella-zoster virus?

Varicella-zoster virus is the virus that causes both chickenpox and shingles. Chickenpox can occur upon initial infection with the virus, while shingles tends to occur later in life when the dormant virus that caused chickenpox reactivates.

What causes varicella-zoster virus?

The varicella-zoster virus can be spread from person to person via skin-to-skin contact, sneezing, coughing or breathing.


What are the symptoms of varicella-zoster virus?

Chickenpox causes small itchy blisters all over the body, as well as fatigue, headache, fever and other flu-like symptoms. Shingles causes a large rash and blisters on just one side of the body, as well as a burning sensation where the rash occurs, fever, headache, upset stomach and other flu-like symptoms.

What are varicella-zoster virus care options?

Vaccines are available to prevent both chickenpox and shingles from occurring. We recommend that children diagnosed with Chickenpox do not get Aspirin as it can trigger Reye disease. Antiviral drugs can help to minimize problems for people at risk of complications from the varicella-zoster virus

Reviewed by: P. Marcelo Laufer, MD

This page was last updated on: 3/23/2018 2:14:09 PM

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Kids Flu Center: Prevention and Care Tips for the Flu
Visit our flu page for helpful tips on preventing the spread of the flu virus and view our symptoms checker. Remember, antivirals are more effective if started within the first 48 hours- seek medical care at the sign of symptoms. For your convenience, our pediatric urgent care centers are available in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach county.