Chickenpox is an infection caused by the varicella virus. It cannot be treated with antibiotics. Treatment is usually for the symptoms.
Chickenpox is easily spread by having direct contact with (ie touching) the person who has chickenpox or from fluid droplets in the air from them coughing. Fever and a rash are the most common signs of chicken pox. A person with chickenpox is infectious to others one to two days before the rash develops and until the last blisters have dried up. Children and adults of any age can get chickenpox but it is more common in children.
One in 5,000 patients develop brain inflammation (encephalitis) and three in 100,000 die. A chickenpox vaccine is recommended for children aged 18 months as part of their normal vaccinations. It is very effective, has few side effects and is free in Victoria.
Read The Royal Children’s Hospital fact sheet for more information about ChickenPox