Sara Sollofe Dr. Bock
May 29th, 2011 Final
Chicken Pox
Chicken Pox is a viral infection that is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, a type of herpes virus. The word chicken pox got its name because it looks like chickpeas on the skin and from the Latin word ?cicer? meaning chickpeas. There is about 10-12 days when a person is developing chicken pox and does not show any symptoms and is not contagious. The last one or two days before you are able to see the chicken pox. Once the spots maybe ?appear? over the next few days more and more maybe develop. Chicken pox is a highly contagious sickness that is spread by the air, especially when someone sneezes or coughs. Chicken pox can also be spread by touching the infected area. A person is still contagious until there are no spots for at least 24 hours and the old spots are dry and scabbed.
Someone can get chicken pox ant time during the year, but it is most happens in the winter and spring. Around 90-95% get chicken pox when they are a child, from other children or siblings. Infections in adults are more severe and can be life threatening.
The average number of chicken pox bumps is about 300, but there has been as few as 10 and as many as 1500. Some children have very few bumps that may be not noticeable. The rash begins as itchy raised up bumps that become blisters filled with fluid. Eventually they ?pop? or just get crust over. The bumps can go all over the body like the mouth, eye, legs, and hands, but usually start on the face and scalp. It takes many weeks for them to heal, but chicken pox almost never leaves a scare. However if you scratch the blister it might tear the skin and leave a scar. This can also allow germs get into your blister which can make it become infected.
Almost all children with chicken pox will develop a rash that is described as ?dewdrops on rosebuds?. Some children experience prodrome (sick period before the actual obvious sickness appears) that can include fever, malaise, poor appetite, and stomach pain. These symptoms can continue for 2-4 days after the rash appears.
Some of the symptoms of the varicella zoster virus can be understood by learning what a virus is and how it acts. Viruses are incredibly small particles (about one-millionth of an inch) that must attach it self to host cells to live and reproduce. A virus is small infection that makes an exact copy inside a cell of an organism. The word virus comes from Latin, which means poison and other things that cause physical or mental health.
A virus infects all sorts of organisms from animals and plants to bacteria and Achaea. They are millions of different types of viruses and they are found in almost every ecosystem on the earth. All viruses are about one hundred times smaller than an average bacterium. Viruses can be spread in many different ways. Plants can get viruses from other plants when the insects feed on sap. Animals can get viruses from insects, when the insect sucks the blood from the animal and transfer it to another animal. People can get viruses from contact with other people like coughing sneezing, ect.
Viruses enter our bodies through our nose or mouth or through skin that is broken. The varicella zoster virus, which causes chicken pox, also likes to sneak in through the mucous membranes lining the eyelids and eyeballs. Once in, the varicella virus holds on to the host cells in the nose and it reproduces a lot. Then it travels to the liver, spleen, and sensory nerve tissues. After another round of replication the particles infect the skin which makes the chicken pox rash.
The varicella zoster virus is very unusual. This virus can settle into areas of the nervous system and then later on it can lead to a painful rash that follows the nervous system. This condition known as herpes zoster (also referred to shingles) and is spread to people who never had chicken pox and only by direct contact not by breathing or sneezing. This normally happens to the elderly or with people with weak immune systems. In most cases the patent was not contact with people that had chicken pox.
Before there was such thing as vaccinations nearly 10,600 Americans were hospitalized