Risk factorsBy Mayo Clinic staff
Chickenpox, which is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, is highly contagious, and it can spread quickly. The virus is transmitted by direct contact with the rash or by droplets dispersed into the air by coughing or sneezing.
Your risk of catching chickenpox is higher if you:
- Haven't had chickenpox
- Haven't been vaccinated for chickenpox
- Work in or attend a school or child care facility
- Live with children
Most people who've been vaccinated against chickenpox or who've had chickenpox are immune to the virus.
- Chickenpox (varicella). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/chickenpox/about/overview.html. Accessed Dec. 25, 2012.
- Policy statement — Prevention of varicella: Update of recommendations for use of quadrivalent and monovalent varicella vaccines in children. American Academy of Pediatrics. http://www.pediatrics.org/cgi/doi/10.1542/peds.2011-1968. Accessed Dec. 25, 2012.
- Papadakis MA, et al. Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2013. 52nd ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2013. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=1. Accessed Dec. 25, 2012.
- Pregnancy complications. March of Dimes. http://www.marchofdimes.com/pregnancy/complications_chickenpox.html. Accessed Dec. 25, 2012.
- Chickenpox. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/print/infectious_diseases/herpesviruses/chickenpox.html. Accessed Dec. 25, 2012.
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- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC Health Information for International Travel. New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press; 2012. http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2012/chapter-3-infectious-diseases-related-to-travel/varicella-chickenpox.htm. Accessed Dec. 25, 2012.