About Chickenpox (Varicella)
Chickenpox is a disease that manifests itself with a fever and rash that may contain as many as 500 blisters (average 300-400), with the potential to spread over the entire body. The varicella virus is highly contagious and spreads easily from person to person by direct contact with chickenpox blisters or airborne when someone with chickenpox breathes or talks. Chickenpox may be contracted 1-2 days before the rash is visible and until scabs have formed on all blisters. Chickenpox develops within 10-21 days after contact with an infected person.
Since 1995, the varicella vaccine has been available and is FDA cleared for use in healthy children 12 months of age or older and adolescents and adults with no evidence of having had chickenpox in the past.
A history of chickenpox is considered adequate evidence of immunity; however, a blood test exists to test immunity in persons who are uncertain of their history with the disease.