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    What is the incubation period of varicella zoster virus?

Posted on Wed, 1 Jun 2016 in Infections
Question: Respected Doctor,

1. My elder sister-in-law (wife's eldest sister) , married, age 56+ , was suffering from Chrone's disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis and IBD diagnosed couple of years back.. Getting treatment by high dose Mithotrixt Oral, Salfsalazine Oral and Hydroxychloroquine Oral. Earlier her acute pain and other difficulties were treated by Prednisolone Inj in couple of occasions.
2. Very recently(19/03/2016) she had sudden onset of Chicken Pox and within 3 days her condition became very serious by whole body eruption, itching, throat congestion, swallowing difficulty even of liquid. On 5th day(24/03/2016) she was admitted in a local Multispecialty Hospital. She is presently under conservative treatment by intravenous fluid, medicines and being cared in a ICU isolation ward. She has improved from initial condition to some extent. Treating doctors have plan to discharge her from Hospital on 28 / 29th next i.e. on 6th / 7th day of treatment and 11th day of incubation as desired by the patient party.

In view of the above circumstances , I have the following queries :-

(a) Is it wise and advisable to get back her at home at this stage.
(b) Whether incubation period of varicella zoster virus is over by 10-12th day of onset of the
(c) Is there any chance of further complication of her condition.
(d) Whether maintaining her in more quarantine period is essential.
(e) Whether at home whoever shall come to her close contact and reside/stay in the same house
is safe.
(f) If you would give any other advice.

Thanking you, with regards.

XXXXXXX XXXX, XXXXXXX 27/03/2016, 1.20 P.M.
Answered by Dr. Prof. Kunal Saha 2 hours later
Brief Answer:
Questions answered sequentially

Detailed Answer:
Thanks for asking on HealthcareMagic.

I have gone carefully through the entire query and understand your concerns. Let me answer the issues one by one:
a, b, d, e) It is safe to bring her back home. Incubation is the period before you see the clinical manifestations but after the virus has entered the body. After the clinical presentation you need not worry about incubation period. The fluid filled vescicles are virus laden and after they have crusted and fallen off, she is no longer infectious. If the crustings have fallen off already, you need not worry. If not, isolation is required.
c) Although it is hard to say that no complications will occur, I can say that complications are unlikely.
f) Nothing as such.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
Follow up: Dr. Prof. Kunal Saha 2 hours later
Good Evening Sir.

Thanks for your valuable reply.

Once more I give you the trouble for further clarifications :-

(a) While giving your review, you must have noted that she is immuno-compromised woman of 56 years.

(b) Most of the fluid filled vesicles are still not dried-up, crusted and fallen-off from the whole body except face and neck area.

Thanking you with regards.
Answered by Dr. Prof. Kunal Saha 38 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Isolation at home is required

Detailed Answer:
Thanks for writing back.

a) The low immunity of a woman of 56 years would not really make a difference.
b) She is therefore still in the infective stage and requires isolation.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
Answered by
Dr. Prof. Kunal Saha

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :1954

Answered : 4438 Questions


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