What is the pathophysiology of pediatric chickenpox?

Updated: Nov 30, 2018
  • Author: Kirsten A Bechtel, MD; Chief Editor: Russell W Steele, MD  more...
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Answer

After a week, a secondary viremia disseminates the virus to the viscera and skin, eliciting the typical skin lesions (see the images below). [2] This viremia also spreads the virus to respiratory sites and is responsible for the contagion of varicella before the appearance of the rash. Infection of the central nervous system (CNS) or liver also occurs at this time, as may encephalitis, hepatitis, or pneumonia.

The pleomorphic rash characteristic of varicella. The pleomorphic rash characteristic of varicella. Papules, vesicles, and pustules are concurrently present.
Papulovesicular lesions on arm in varying stages o Papulovesicular lesions on arm in varying stages of healing in this infant with varicella. Photograph courtesy of Susan Feigelman, MD.

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