Chickenpox or chicken pox is caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV). It is a
highly contagious illness among kids under age 12.
The most common symptom is
the itchy rash of spots that look like blisters and can appear all over the body
and be accompanied by flu-like symptoms. Some children get the chickenpox rash
without having a fever or other early symptoms.
Chickenpox is an airborne disease and spread easily through coughing or sneezing or
through direct contact with secretions from the rash. The disease is usually
mild and lasts 5 to 10 days, but it sometimes causes serious problems.
The incubation period is around 14 to 16 days.
Usually, a person has only one episode of chickenpox, but the virus can lie
dormant within the body and then appear later in the adult life causing a
different type of skin eruption called shingles (or herpes zoster).