If the lesions are severe and the person has scratched them, bacterial infection of the lesions can result. This complication is managed with antibiotic treatment. A more serious complication is pneumonia. Pneumonia is rare in otherwise healthy children and is more often seen in older patients or in children who already have a serious disease, such as cancer. Pneumonia is also treated with antibiotics. Another complication of chickenpox is shingles. Shingles are painful outbreaks of skin lesions that occur some years after a bout with chickenpox. Shingles are caused by VZV left behind in the body which then becomes reactivated. Shingles causes skin lesions and burning pain along the region served by a specific nerve. It is not clear why VZV is reactivated in some people and not in others, but many people with compromised immune systems can develop severe, even life-threatening cases of shingles.
Pregnant women are more susceptible to chickenpox, which also poses a threat to both prenatal and newborn children. If a woman contracts chickenpox in the first trimester (first three months) of pregnancy, the fetus may be at increased risk for birth defects such as scarring and eye damage. A newborn may contract chickenpox in the uterus if the mother has chickenpox five days before birth. Newborns can also contract chickenpox if the mother has the disease up to two days after birth. Chicken-pox can be a deadly disease for newborns-the fatality rate from chickenpox in newborns up to five days old is about 30%. For this reason, women contemplating pregnancy may opt to be vaccinated with the new VZV vaccine prior to conception if they have never had the disease. If this has not been done, and a pregnant woman contracts chicken-pox, an injection of varicella-zoster immunoglobulin can lessen the chance of complications to the fetus.
Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Categorical judgement to ChimaeraChickenpox - Symptoms Of Chickenpox, Treatment, Complications, Chickenpox And Environmental Factors, Immunity And The New Vaccine