Although chicken pox is considered a common childhood disease, many individuals may not fully understand the long term effects of this condition. This is because Varicella Zoster virus complications can occur years after the initial infection was contracted. Also referred to as VZV, this is the cause of chicken pox and can lead to multiple conditions, including shingles later in life. However, this isn’t the only medical problem that may result from this virus.
Varicella Zoster Virus Complications Related Directly to Chicken Pox
Contrary to popular belief, chicken pox itself can become a dangerous medical condition. According to Emedicine.com, two out of every one hundred thousand cases results in death. They also note that other common complications as a result of chicken pox are encephalitis, pneumonia and bacterial infections. In these cases, hospitalization may be required. The young, elderly, immunocompromised and those who have not been immunized are at greatest risk for VZV complications following or during an active outbreak of chicken pox. Shingles is also a result of the virus lying dormant in the body.
Varicella Zoster Virus Complications and Reye ‘s Syndrome
Reye’s Syndrome is a condition that has been associated with VZV complications that can potentially be avoided. This particular syndrome is not caused by the virus itself, rather by treating the symptoms of chicken pox with aspirin in small children. The onset can be rather quick and severe, resulting in damage to organs such as the brain and liver. In addition to this, the condition can be life threatening. In most cases, the signs and symptoms of Reye’s do not become apparent until the individual begins to “get over” the initial illness caused by Varicella Zoster.
Other Considerations of Varicella Zoster Virus Complications
These are not the only complications associated with VZV, only some of the most common. However, not all individuals that have suffered from infection will have these types of problems. There are many other factors that will play an important role. This can include the severity of the infection, the immune system of the patient and whether or not the individual suffers from any other types of medical conditions. Those that have pre-existing problems are at higher risk of having complications than otherwise healthy individuals. Age of the patient will also play a significant role.
Varicella. Emedicine. 1994-2010. Viewed 2, October 2010. http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/969773-overview
Varicella Zoster Virus. John Hopkins Medicine. Unknown. Viewed 2, October 2010. http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/heic/ID/vzv/