Before a vaccine was available, about 4 million children in the U.S. developed chickenpox each year...
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Before a vaccine was available, about 4 million children in the U.S. developed chickenpox each year. The best known signs of chickenpox are an itchy rash and small blisters, which can spread across the entire body. Chickenpox is caused by the varicella zoster virus. After a chickenpox infection, the virus can remain in the body, traveling down nerves that carry sensations to the brain. It can hide in nerve tissues near the spinal column and brain for decades. Many years later, the virus may come out of hiding and be reactivated in a form known as shingles. It can cause pain and tingling along nerve pathways, usually on one side of the body. The pain is often accompanied by a red rash, which is usually limited to a small section on one side. Some people complain of persistent pain, even after the rash has disappeared.