How does transmission of pediatric chickenpox occur?

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

Varicella is caused by the varicella-zoster virus. The infectious particles are cell-free virus particles derived from skin lesions or the respiratory tract. Transmission occurs mainly through respiratory droplets that contain the virus, making the disease highly contagious even before the rash appears. Direct person-to-person contact with lesions also spreads the virus. Papules and vesicles, but not the crusts, have high populations of the virus. In addition, maternal varicella with viremia can transplacentally spread to the fetus. This leads to neonatal varicella.


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