Varicella Zoster

National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

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It is possible that the main title of the report Varicella Zoster is not the name you expected.

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.

Supporting Organizations

American Pain Society

8735 W. Higgins Road
Suite 300
Chicago, IL 60631
Tel: 847.375.4715

Center for Peripheral Neuropathy

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

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

1600 Clifton Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30333
Tel: (404)639-3534
Tel: (800)232-4636

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

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

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

World Health Organization (WHO)

Avenue Appia 20
Geneva 27, 1211
Tel: 41227912111
Fax: 41227913111

For a Complete Report

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). For a full-text version of this report, go to and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only.

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.

Last Updated:  4/10/2009
Copyright  2009 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.