Lung infection (pneumonia)
caused by the
chickenpox virus is an uncommon complication of
chickenpox. It develops when the chickenpox virus travels to the lungs.
Varicella pneumonia can occur 2 to 10 days after the chickenpox rash.
Fever and cough are usually the first signs. Most people recover from varicella pneumonia.
But the symptoms may last for weeks or months.
When it occurs,
varicella pneumonia tends to affect:
- Teens and adults. Teens and adults are more
likely to develop varicella pneumonia than children. Adults who get this
condition may become very sick. Varicella pneumonia is the most common cause of
death in adults who get chickenpox.
- Pregnant women. Pregnant women
who have chickenpox during the last part of pregnancy are at risk for getting
varicella pneumonia, which can lead to severe illness or death.
- People who have chronic lung diseases.
- People who have
impaired immune systems.
- People who smoke cigarettes.1
LaRussa PS, Marin M (2011). Varicella-zoster virus infections. In RM Kliegman et al., eds., Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics, 19th ed., chap. 250, pp. 1104–1110. Philadelphia: Saunders.
|Primary Medical Reviewer||John Pope, MD - Pediatrics|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||Thomas Emmett Francoeur, MD, MDCM, CSPQ, FRCPC - Pediatrics|
|Last Revised||October 13, 2011|