Adult chickenpox is an infectious disease caused by the varicella zoster virus. It typically results in blister-like rashes, itching, tiredness, and fever. Cases of adult chickenpox are far less common than those in children, but the potential complications for adults infected with chickenpox are very serious.
An Introduction to Adult Chickenpox
Chickenpox is an infectious disease caused by the varicella zoster virus (VZV), a virus that is part of the herpes virus family. Chickenpox results in a blister-like rash, itching, tiredness, and fever.
Before the introduction of the varicella vaccine in 1995, approximately 4 million cases of chickenpox were reported annually, including 4,000 to 9,000 hospitalizations and 100 deaths. Since the introduction of the chickenpox vaccine, the number of cases has dropped dramatically.
Adults who have not had chickenpox or the chickenpox vaccine are just as likely to develop chickenpox as children.
Symptoms of Adult Chickenpox
Symptoms of chickenpox in adults are similar to symptoms in children. Adult chickenpox symptoms can begin with 1 to 2 days of low-grade fever and tiredness. These early symptoms of chickenpox do not always occur before the chickenpox rash develops.
Early adult chickenpox symptoms are followed by itchy blisters that first appear on the trunk, face, and scalp. These blisters can spread over the entire body, causing between 250 and 500 itchy blisters. The chickenpox rash can appear in three or more successive waves. Eventually, the blisters crust over.