Chickenpox - Definition

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Chickenpox is a highly contagious viral disease caused by the varicella zoster virus (VZV), belonging to the herpes virus family. This disease usually affects young children, remaining latent in the body, which can reappear as herpes zoster, or zona. Although usually benign, chickenpox can nevertheless have serious complications for immunocompromised patients, those whose immune system is weakened, and for pregnant women. If chickenpox is contracted before the 20th week of pregnancy, there is a risk it will be transmitted to the fetus, a case called fetal varicella syndrome that can cause severe complications for the baby, sometimes even causing fetal death. If contracted in the days before the birth or within two days of delivery, there is a risk of neonatal varicella, with potential pulmonary and neurological complications or even death of the newborn baby. In the first scenario, the mother's condition is closely monitored until the end of her pregnancy, and in the second, a molecule called acyclovir must be administered.