Complications of Varicella zoster infection

Vaiva Būgaitė1, Greta Bulotaitė1

1Faculty of Medicine, Vilnius University, Vilnius, Lithuania


Varicella zoster is an extremely contagious virus, which belongs to the Human alphaherpesvirus species and can be transmitted either by inhaling tiny droplets of infected saliva or by direct contact with infectious liquid from the vesicles on the skin. Even after the primary acute infection called chickenpox is resolved, the virus is never completely eliminated from the body. Therefore it can reactivate and cause shingles – a painful unilateral rash that aligns with the area of the affected dermatome.

Even though chickenpox is considered to be a benign disease for children with a normal immune system, it can cause many complications for older or immunocompromised patients: postherpetic neuralgia, secondary bacterial infections, neurological complications, respiratory infections and pneumonia, trombocitopenia, vasculopathy, gastrointestinal and ophthalmological complications. Since these complications are especially dangerous to immunosuppressed patients, timely diagnosis and treatment are crucial.


Keywords: Varicella zoster, chickenpox, shingles, Varicella zoster infection complications.