A new virus variant ‘Clad 9’ causing chicken pox has been detected in India. The National Institute of Virology (NIV) has discovered this new variant which is responsible for causing Varicella-Zoster Virus (VZV). This variant is considered more prevalent in countries like Germany, America and UK and has been detected in India for the first time.
Niv’s research was published in the recent issue of the Annals of Medicine journal on September 6, 2023. The main focus of the research revolved around the genomic characterization of VZV and found that this virus was present in suspected MPOX cases among children and adults.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), varicella (chickenpox) is an acute infectious disease. It is caused by varicella-zoster virus (VZV), which is a DNA virus that is a member of the herpesvirus group. After primary infection, VZV persists in the body (in sensory nerve ganglia) as a latent infection. Primary infection with VZV causes varicella. Reactivation of latent infection causes herpes zoster.
The World Health Organization (WHO) states that VZV transmission occurs through direct contact with droplets, aerosols, or respiratory secretions and almost always causes clinical disease in susceptible individuals. While the disorder is mostly mild in childhood, varicella is more serious in adults. It takes 10 to 21 days after exposure to the virus for a person to develop varicella.
According to WHO, this virus can be fatal, especially in newborns and individuals with weak immunity. Most cases occur before the age of 10 years. Varicella is characterized by an itchy rash that usually begins on the scalp and face and is initially accompanied by fever and malaise. The rash gradually spreads to the torso and arms and legs. The vesicles gradually dry up and scabs appear which then disappear within one to two weeks.