Chickenpox is a very contagious disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus. Captain Darin, what can you tell us about chickenpox?
Well, Dr. Connolly, chickenpox used to be a common childhood illness in the United States, especially in children under the age of 12. However, all 50 states now have some form of mandate requiring children to receive the varicella vaccine before they enter school. Most states have the same requirement for children entering childcare.
Chickenpox can be serious, even deadly, especially in babies and people with weakened immune systems. The best way to protect these vulnerable populations is to vaccinate as many healthy people as possible. This limits the chances of exposing vulnerable populations to the virus.
Once a child catches chickenpox, the virus stays in their body for the rest of their life. It usually remains dormant, but if it becomes active again in adulthood, it causes shingles.