Varicella

By: Julie Sepanski

Symptoms

The symptoms of the Varicella virus are getting the chicken pox or shingles. When you have chicken pox you will possibly have red itchy bumps or sores. You also may feel fatigue, have a fever, or loss of appetite. There's also possible headache, swollen lymph nodes, and a sore throat. When you have shingles the symptoms that may occur would be painful red blister rash in linear distribution, burning sensation, fatigue, or itching.

Causes

The causes of Chicken pox are contact with someone that has the chicken pox already, and it may take several days after contact with someone that has the chicken pox for you to have symptoms. Shingles occurs when the virus that causes chickenpox starts up again in your body. After you get better from chickenpox, the virus "sleeps" in your nerve roots. It eventually "wakes up" and you get a bad rash again.

Immune Cells Involved in Immune Response

The initial stage of the infection involves when someone makes contact with someone else with the virus. After contact, the virus remains undetected by the host immune system for 10 to 21 days. During this time the virus is presumed to spread to draining regional lymph nodes, resulting in T-cell infection and subsequent transport to other sites, including cells of the reticuloendothelial system in the liver. The reticuloendothelial system consists of phagocytic cells located in the reticular connective tissue.

How Virus Replicates

This is how the virus replicates, through the lytic cycle. The virus Attaches to a cell then the virus sneaks into the cell to infect it. The viral RNA enters the nucleus where it is replicated by the viral RNA polymerase. This can also go through the lysogenic cycle because after you get rid of the chickenpox you can get the shingles because the virus is lying dormant in the roots of your nerves and can react many years later.
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Treatment

This can be self treatable by taking Benadryl to stop the itching and Tylenol to stop any headaches you have or fever. There is no doctor approved treatment that will make it go away immediately.

Prevention

The varicella virus, or chickenpox, can be prevented by a vaccine or by just staying away and not making any contact with someone that has this virus. There is also a vaccine you can get that will help prevent it. Ones you have had the virus one time you will not get it again because you body will know how to fight it off.

Photomicrograph of the virus