Epidemiology of Chickenpox

Chickenpox, otherwise known as Varicella Zoster, is an airborne disease. Chickenpox spreads easily through coughs and sneezes from an infected person. The ailment is highly communicable and spreads mostly during the winter and early spring seasons. Varicella Zoster has high incidences among children between the ages of 4-10 years. Normally, patients contract the disease in their early childhood days. However, a significantly small number of adults remain susceptible to attack (Domino, 2007). The disease is caused by the virus Varicella zoster virus. 

Upon infection, the disease has an incubation period of between 10 to 20 days before the symptoms begin to appear. At first, a characteristic skin rash forms, degenerating to itchy blisters. Symptoms first appear on the face, chest, and back before spreading to the rest of the body. Victims also exhibit signs of fever, fatigue, and headaches. In severe cases, victims may suffer from pneumonia, bacterial infection, or inflammation of the brain (Abro, et al, 2009). Despite its epidemic nature, the disease is not life threatening. Most people heal naturally or with simple antibiotics. Currently, the death rate stands at 1 person per 60,000 infections (Tunbridge et al, 2014).

Health Determinants

Determinants of health such as a person’s social and economic environment, their physical environment, and individual characteristics and behaviors influence the spread of the disease. The physical environment promotes faster spread of the disease, by offering the necessary conditions for the virus to replicate. Accordingly, people residing in the temperate regions of the world are more susceptible to attack as compared to their counterparts in the tropical regions (Tunbridge et al, 2014). A person’s social and economic environment determines their living standards and access to services such as medical care. Educated people often seek early medical consultancies and hardly notice chickenpox, as compared less educated who seek help late after the attack. Unsanitary living conditions promote the spread of the disease. Highly congested areas are likely to be hotbeds of the disease as the rate of infection is high. Lack of access to medical treatment contributes to severity cases or even death (Maurer & Smith, 2012). Individual characteristics and behaviors contribute lesser to the spread of the disease. However, its believed that personal hygiene plays a vital role in the disease’s virulence. Social individuals are more likely to contract the disease than their introverted peers. In addition, sneezing, coughing, or spitting saliva anyhow will heighten the spread of the virus. In general, the context of people’s living standards influences the spread of the disease.

Disease Etiology

Chickenpox shows clear interrelatedness between the environment, the host, agent, and treatment of the disease. All these elements comprise the ailment’s epidemiological triangle. Environment contributes greatly to the spread of the disease. Humid conditions facilitate the easy travelling of fluid particles from the infected person or carrier agent to an uninfected person. Temperate regions of the world have higher prevalence rates than tropical areas. The humid climate facilitates the replication and spread of the virus. Wind and humidity are the common agent’s factors of spread. A majority of the spreads are done through inhalation of droplets from an infected person. A few cases of direct body contact have been reported to cause infection. From one person to another, the virus is transmitted through its carrier strain, Varicella zoster. The host of the virus is predominantly the human body, though virtually all primates are potential hosts. Early cases of the disease were reported in monkeys.

The Role of the Community Nurse

The community nurse plays an integral role in disease detection, treatment, and follow-up. Nurses and community health workers are tasked with the role of investigating cases and offering the necessary support to the victims (Macartney et al, 2014). Besides, the health professionals are required to conduct civic education in the community. Civic education improves the awareness about the disease, its cause, spread, and how best the society can protect itself. Chickenpox is an epidemic. Once the first signs have been detected, the rest of the members can be alerted and educated on the best preventive measures to put in place. Nurses have a role to ascertain the disease incidences and develop intervention plans. Pediatric nurses offer immunization programs to children to reduce their chances of contracting the disease.

In societies that are not able to provide adequate isolation facilities to contain the spread, medical practitioners have a role of enlightening the families on how to take care of their sick members. Most countries have immunization programs for younger children (Macartney, 2014). Health practitioners conduct the immunization program and make follow-ups on the effectiveness of the process. Nurses have a central role to play in detecting, treating, and making reviews of the treatment process.

Chickenpox Agency

Center for Disease Control (CDC) is a body corporate formed to investigate, study, or treat communicable diseases. Based in the United States, the body has branches countrywide and works with like-minded organizations such as the World Health Organization. Medical researchers, including microbiologists study the present and emerging diseases in the world. The team of experts then embarks on finding a cure or preventive mechanisms to neutralize the effects of the disease (Maurer & Smith, 2012). Following the diagnostics made, the organization makes recommendations on how best stakeholders or individuals can operate to avoid infection. In the case of common ailments such as chickenpox, the body had developed an immunization vaccine for younger children to avoid infection. Besides, the entity conducts seminars and public workshops where the masses are educated on how to handle such cases or protect themselves. The Center for Disease Control is central in disease detection, treatment, or prevention.

 Since its detection, chickenpox has caused a number of deaths. However, due to medical breakthroughs in the recent past, a vaccine has been developed to counter its effects. In addition, the society is now better informed on how to contain its spread. In the near future, the world is likely to be chickenpox-free. While chickenpox has been categorized as a pandemic, its mortalities are low.


Chickenpox is an airborne viral infection. Its entry points are the airways and to a lesser extent dermal contact. The dieses has been termed as a childhood disease, over 90% cases have been diagnosed in children below 10 years. It is a benign condition in healthy children, but the virulence increase in adults and  immunocompromised cases. The disease incidences are high in patient with zoster. The incidences of varicella have significantly reduced with the pediatric nurse interventions. Chickenpox is an immunizable condition, and pediatric nurses have intervened through early immunization programs. The Center of Disease Control (CDC), has played a significant role in researching, documenting, and advising about chickenpox. Huge chickenpox CDC publication and warnings have become handy in developing prevention and health promotion activities.


Abro, A., Ustadh, A., Das, K., Abdou, A., Hussaini, H., & Chandra, F. (2009). Chickenpox: Presentation and Complications in Adults. Journal of Pakistan Medical Association 59 (12).

Domino, F. (2007). The 5-Minute Clinical Consult. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Macartney, K., Heywood, A., & Mclntyre, P. (2014). Vaccines for Post-exposure Prophylaxis against Varicella (Chickenpox) in Children and Adults. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 6. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD001833.pub3.  

Maurer, F. & Smith, C. (2012). Community/Public Health Nursing Practice: Health for Families and Populations 5th ed). St. Louis, MO: Saunders Elsevier.

Tunbridge, A., Breur, J., & Jeffrey, K. (2008). Chickenpox in Adults- Clinical Management. Journal of Infections 57 (2).