What is Varicella?


Varicella is commonly known as Chickenpox.  It is a very contagious viral disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus and is found worldwide.  Symptoms may include fever, headache, runny nose, general malaise and fluid-filled skin lesions. 

The rash is widespread, itchy and can cause permanent scarring.  Newborns, adults and people with weak immune systems can develop complications such as skin infections, pneumonia, and blood infections. 

Routine childhood immunization programs include varicella containing vaccines, such as MMR-V. 

Some Albertans born in the early 2000s may have only received a single dose of varicella vaccine, rather than the recommended two dose series.  Second doses can be given anytime but are private pay.




Vaccine names: Varilrix and Varivax III

Minimum age: 12 months

Primary series: 2 doses (4-12 weeks apart)

Boosters: Not recommended