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Doctor insights on: Varicella Zoster Virus

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Dr. DAVID AMOS
160 doctors shared insights

Varicella Zoster Virus (Overview)

Varicella-Zoster Virus is a type of herpes virus that causes chicken pox in children and young adults. It causes Zoster, typically in the elderly, which is an outbreak of painful blisters localized in the area of skin innervated by a single nerve.


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How long can the varicella-zoster virus last on surfaces?

How long can the varicella-zoster virus last on surfaces?

Shingles: We don't generally worry about shingles virus being spread by surfaces. As a rule you can give someone chicken pox if you have shingles so you should not have anyone with a poor immune system touch your shingles rash. I think the virus probably could survive on a surface but since chicken pox itself is usually spread by breathing on someone doubt you could give chicken pox this way. ...Read more

Dr. DAVID AMOS
160 doctors shared insights

Varicella Zoster Virus (Overview)

Varicella-Zoster Virus is a type of herpes virus that causes chicken pox in children and young adults. It causes Zoster, typically in the elderly, which is an outbreak of painful blisters localized in the area of skin innervated by a single nerve.


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How does the varicella-zoster virus cause the symptoms of chickenpox?

How does the varicella-zoster virus cause the symptoms of chickenpox?

Chickenpox: Chickenpox is a viral disease caused by varicella zoster. After a chickenpox infection the virus lives on in nerves and of it reemerges later in life it only affects that part of the body innervated by that nerve, resulting in shingles. ...Read more

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Lifespan of varicella zoster virus?

Lifetime: As long as you live, the virus stays with you mostly in dormant stage and occasionally flares up. ...Read more

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Are the varicella zoster virus and shingles the same thing?

Are the varicella zoster virus and shingles the same thing?

Word games: One is the name of a virus, the other is one condition that virus can cause. ...Read more

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What is the lifespan of varicella zoster virus outside the host cell?

About 24 hours: Vzv can survive outside the human body for up to 24 hours, but it may be less in inhospitable conditions. ...Read more

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What risk does the virus varicella-zoster virus(vzv) cause to fetuses?

What risk does the virus varicella-zoster virus(vzv) cause to fetuses?

Serious effects: Varicella-zoster virus can cause prematurity, encephalitis, pneumonia, intrauterine growth restriction, central nervous system abnormalities, limb abnormalities, blindness, and possibly death if birth occurs during active infection. This is one reason why the VZV vaccine is contraindicated during pregnancy since it is a live vaccine. ...Read more

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Is latent varicella-zoster virus more likely to reactivate if the person is re-exposed to the virus or does it only reactivate with stressing the body?

Is latent varicella-zoster virus more likely to reactivate if the person is re-exposed to the virus or does it only reactivate with stressing the body?

Hard to say: For most individuals re-exposure will only give an individual a chance to boost their immunity and thereby keep the inactivated virus in check. If their systems immunity has weakened enough to allow emergence, the stress of the exposure could let this happen. However, it is difficult if not impossible to link these by proper study. ...Read more

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Why is the varicella-zoster virus referred to as a herpes virus?

Why is the varicella-zoster virus referred to as a herpes virus?

See Below: It can be a bit confusing. The technical name for 'shingles' is herpes zoster. Herpes zoster is caused by a reactivation of the varicella zoster virus. This is the same virus that causes chickenpox. To further complicate matters, the virus is also called human herpes virus type 3. ...Read more

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What is the difference between herpes zoster and varicella zoster virus?

What is the difference between herpes zoster and varicella zoster virus?

Herpes zoster...: Herpes zoster is the return of the infection caused by the varicella zoster virus. The first time this infection occurs, it is called varicella. ...Read more

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My doctor wants me to get a CT scan with contrast to see if i have the varicella-zoster virus in spinal fluid;. Expensive. Is this only way to test?

My doctor wants me to get a CT scan with contrast to see if i have the varicella-zoster virus in spinal fluid;. Expensive. Is this only way to test?

No: Well! Ct scan is really an indirect and non-invasive way. The direct but invasive way (and also a lot inexpensive) would be to do LP and send for viral cultures. ...Read more

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Does varicella zoster virus can cause abortion? And does acyclovir effects on fetus? And can a pregnant woman transfer herpes to fetus?

1. Doubtful;...: 1. Doubtful; never noted to be associated with more frequent miscarriages than baseline; 2. Category b: none noted in limited studies; 3. Yes, but this usually happens at delivery. ...Read more

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If I had chikenpox as a child, why would anyone need to be tested for Varicella-Zoster Ab, IgG? The virus is already in your system. I tested positive

Just good practice: Maybe your doctor tested you because she suspected herpes zoster (shingles), which is a reactivation of VZV, the chickenpox virus. Antibody lab testing is more reliable than patient history in knowing for sure that someone is carrying VZV and that shingles is possible. Not that she didn't trust your history, but still more accurate. Ask the doctor directly if this doesn't seem to explain it. ...Read more

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How does the varicella zoster spread?

How does the varicella zoster spread?

Airborn/ contact: The varicella virus is passed by new active cases by droplet (cough or secretions) and by contact with debris from blisters. It is estimated that as few as 30 minutes in a room with a kid with chicken pox may spread it to susceptable persons. ...Read more

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How would you explain what a varicella zoster (shingles) is in layman's terms?

Recurrent chickenpo: When first infected with chickenpox (varicella) the virus remains alive in your nervous system for the rest of your life and for unclear reasons can recur, often in localized area of your body (on one side only). This latter rash is called zoster and a person who has never had chickenpox can "get" chickenpox from this rash,. ...Read more

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What is the main cause of varicella zoster (shingles)?

Only varicella virus: Shingles is a condition where the zoster virus emerges from hibernation in one of your nerve roots. It travels down the nerve and exits in the distribution of that nerve where it causes pain, blisters and skin sensitivity. The only way you get shingles is to have had chickenpox in the past or have received the vaccine (although less often). ...Read more

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What does a high lab result for the varicella-zoster v ab, IgG mean? Thank you

High titer vs. VZV.: This most likely means you have a high titer, or amount of antibody to the varicella zoster virus, probably from a bout of chicken pox. ...Read more

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How to explain what a varicella zoster (shingles) is to a parent or a patient?

How to explain what a varicella zoster (shingles) is to a parent or a patient?

When weak: When you are weak, the virus grows stronger. And comes out through your nerves, and that is why it hurts. Until there is a crust, you can infect others. ...Read more

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Have lyme, mycoplasma, yersinia and varicella zoster. What should I treat first?

See ID specialist: For a person with all these infections, you need to be thoroughly evaluated by an infectious disease specialist and probably admitted to the hospital to have them treated with IV medications. If there are ongoing infections, all need to be treated simultaneously. ...Read more

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How could you explain what a varicella zoster (shingles) is to a parent or a patient?

Virus: Shingles is a herpes zoster virus that can occur in anyone who has had chicken pox (herpes simplex) There are currently injections which aid in the prevention of shingles. ...Read more

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What does it mean when varicella zoster is negative?

Hard to say: If you are referring to a blood test, it would mean there is no evidence of a prior varicella infection and no immunity. If it refers to a specimin I send to the lab for pcr it means no vz was found in the specimin. ...Read more

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My blood test shows Varicella Zoster Ab IgG Scr 2.83. ANA Positive. My appointment isn't until next week. Can you tell me what that means?

My blood test shows Varicella Zoster Ab IgG Scr 2.83. ANA Positive. My appointment isn't until next week. Can you tell me what that means?

Two things different: The Zoster IgG means you are currently immune to the shingles virus and have had either the vaccination, chicken pox, or a prior episode of shingles. The ANA is usually a screening test for autoimmune diseases and impossible to interpret without the context of symptoms and subfraction ANA analysis ...Read more

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I have recurring sensitivity on my skin (no rash) since childhood. During episode, I had a Varicella-Zoster IgG with results of 3126. Interpretation?

I have recurring sensitivity on my skin (no rash) since childhood. During episode, I had a Varicella-Zoster IgG with results of 3126.  Interpretation?

Good protection: That means that you have good protective antibody against the chickenpox virus and did not reflect a then current infection. What do you mean by sensitivity on your skin? Burning, tingling, itching? I do not believe however that these two issues are related and believe that you might have received Zostavax in recent past. Knowing your age would also allow us to give better answers. ...Read more

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I never had chicken pox and have had one varicella zoster vaccine. Am I protected?

I never had chicken pox and have had one varicella zoster vaccine. Am I protected?

??zoster vac ??: In kids, 1 dose of chickenpox vaccine protects 90% & with 2 doses ~100%, if you only got one I would get a second. If you are over 50 and received the zoster vaccine to prevent shingles, that vaccine is of very high potency and should cover for both CP and shingles. ...Read more

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I get shingles regularly. Can I have the varicella-zoster vaccine? I wouldn't think so since it's for prevention, but I've heard otherwise.

I get shingles regularly. Can I have the varicella-zoster vaccine? I wouldn't think so since it's for prevention, but I've heard otherwise.

Very unusual: It would be very unusual for a young person who is otherwise healthy to get shingles, let alone recurrent shingles. How has it been diagnosed? A viral culture may help define it with certainty. Please see your doctor as what you are describing isn't normal and should be investigated. If it truly is recurrent shingles then a search for the underlying cause needs to be undertaken. ...Read more

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Varicella zoster igg level 2339. What does it mean, a recent infection or general immune deficiency?

See answer: Varicella zoster IgG level raised suggests a past infection with chicken pox or shingles. Raised IgM levels wld suggest a very recent or present infection. Either way it wld not suggest a general immune deficiency! ...Read more

Dr. James Ferguson
751 doctors shared insights

Chickenpox (Definition)

Caused by the varicella-zoster virus, chicken pox results in a blister rash that starts on the stomach, back, and face and spreads throughout the entire body. These small itchy blisters eventually scab over. Associated symptoms include itching, fatigue, malaise, and a fever. The most effective method to prevent spreading of the varicella virus is ...Read more


Virus (Definition)

A virus is a small infectious agent that can replicate only inside the living cells of an organism. Viruses can infect all types of organisms, from animals and plants ...Read more