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Varicella (Chickenpox) Disease

What is Varicella?

  • Varicella, also known as chickenpox, is a contagious disease that causes an itchy rash of blisters.
  • A person with chickenpox may have as many as 500 blisters.
  • The rash can spread over the whole body.
  • Chickenpox can be serious and life-threatening especially to babies, adolescents, adults, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems.

What are the symptoms?

  • The most common symptom of chickenpox is the itchy rash of blisters that can appear all over the body.
  • Other symptoms can occur 1-2 days before there rash appears.
  • Those symptoms include:
    --Feeling tired
    --Decreased appetite

How does Chickenpox spread?

  • Chickenpox spreads easily, by having direct contact with a person with the disease.
  • It can also spread by touching the blisters of a person who has chickenpox.
  • It can also spread through tiny droplets that get into the air when someone who has chickenpox breathes or talks.
  • Chickenpox can spread as early as 1 to 2 days before the infected person's rash appears to until all the blisters have formed scabs.

Where can I find more information?

  • Ask your doctor, or contact your local county health department
  • Email the Alabama Department of Public Health, Immunization Division, at [email protected]
  • Go to and type 'Varicella' in the SEARCH box.
  • Read, print, and share our Varicella Fast Fact Flyer to learn more about pertussis disease and vaccines.


Page last updated: May 13, 2021