by EBSCO Medical Review Board

Chickenpox is a viral infection that spreads easily from person to person. The main sign is an itchy rash all over the body.

It is caused by the varicella zoster virus (VZV). The virus spreads quickly to others 1 to 2 days before the rash appears and the first day after the rash appears. The virus can spread to others until all of the blisters have crusted. A person can get the virus from:

  • Breathing airborne droplets that have the virus
  • Direct contact with fluid from a chickenpox rash

A pregnant mother can also pass it to the fetus.

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What are the risk factors for chickenpox?What are the symptoms of chickenpox?How is chickenpox diagnosed?What are the treatments for chickenpox?Are there screening tests for chickenpox?How can I reduce my risk of chickenpox?What questions should I ask my doctor?Where can I get more information about chickenpox?


Chickenpox. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: . Accessed September 8, 2020.

Chickenpox. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: Accessed September 8, 2020.

Chickenpox (varicella). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: Accessed September 8, 2020.

Gershon AA, Breuer J, et al. Varicella zoster virus infection. Nat Rev Dis Primers. 2015 Jul 2;1:15016.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Shawna Grubb, RN
  • Review Date: 03/2020
  • Update Date: 03/19/2021