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About Chickenpox

June 14, 1995|KATHLEEN DOHENY

Chickenpox is a highly contagious viral infection that begins as an itchy rash, which progresses to blisters that dry and scab.

* Ninety percent of people in a household who have not had chickenpox probably will come down with it if exposed to an infected family member.

* About 4 million cases of chickenpox occur each year, with 90% of those affected younger than 15.

* Complications can include secondary bacterial infection of skin lesions, encephalitis and pneumonia.

* The virus can be reactivated later in life and result in shingles.

* About 9,000 hospitalizations a year are related to chickenpox, and about 90 people die from it annually.

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Los Angeles County Department of Health Services.

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