Infectious Disease: Chickenpox

Communicable and infectious diseases require unending attention by healthcare providers to promote optimal outcomes for the health of the population. Although Chickenpox outbreaks have drastically reduced due to the introduction of a vaccine , the disease has not disappeared therefore healthcare providers such as advanced practice nurses (APN) must stay informed to provide the best evidence-based practice to properly care for their patients and the health care community. Chickenpox, also known as varicella, is caused by the Varicella-zoster virus (VZV). When a patient is exposed the typical presentation involves a pruritic rash on the trunk and face along with body aches, fever, and lethargy that can last for a week or longer. More severe complications can be an infection among the lesions and pneumonia. After exposure, the virus becomes dormant and resides within neurons. The virus can become reactivated later in life in the form of shingles, also known as herpes zoster.


Heather Duncan*

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