Varicella Zoster

National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

It is possible that the main title of the report Varicella Zoster is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.


  • Chickenpox
  • Shingles
  • Herpes Zoster

Disorder Subdivisions

  • None

General Discussion

Varicella-zoster is an infectious disease caused by a common virus known as herpes virus, also known as the varicella-zoster virus (VZV). During childhood, the virus causes chickenpox (varicella), while, during adulthood, it causes shingles (herpes zoster). Chickenpox is a highly contagious disease characterized by an itchy skin rash and fever. Chickenpox usually begins with mild constitutional symptoms such as a mild headache, moderate fever and discomfort followed by an eruption appearing in itchy groups of flat or elevated spots and blisters, which form crusts. The virus lies dormant in individuals who have had chickenpox as children. Shingles is a painful localized recurrence of the skin rash during adulthood. Shingles occur because the virus is reactivated.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30333
Tel: (404)639-3534
Tel: (800)232-4636
TDD: (888)232-6348

NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
NIAID Office of Communications and Government Relations
5601 Fishers Lane, MSC 9806
Bethesda, MD 20892-9806
Tel: (301)496-5717
Fax: (301)402-3573
Tel: (866)284-4107
TDD: (800)877-8339

World Health Organization (WHO)
Avenue Appia 20
Geneva 27, 1211
Tel: 41227912111
Fax: 41227913111

American Pain Society
4700 West Lake Avenue
Glenview, IL 60025
Tel: (847)375-4715
Fax: (866)574-2654

National Shingles Foundation
603 West 115 ST
Suite 371
New York, NY 10025
Tel: (212)222-3390
Fax: (212)222-8627
Tel: (800)472-8478

Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center
PO Box 8126
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
Tel: (301)251-4925
Fax: (301)251-4911
Tel: (888)205-2311
TDD: (888)205-3223

Center for Peripheral Neuropathy
University of Chicago
5841 South Maryland Ave, MC 2030
Chicago, IL 60637
Tel: (773)702-5659
Fax: (773)702-5577

For a Complete Report

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The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only. NORD recommends that affected individuals seek the advice or counsel of their own personal physicians.

It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report

This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

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Last Updated:  4/10/2009
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