Chronic illness caused by the Varicella zoster virus

Dr. med. Sabine Rauch
The Varicella zoster virus (VZV) belongs to a group of eight Herpes viruses known to infect humans and is also known as Human herpes virus 3 (HHV-3). Besides the Herpes simplex viruses 1 and 2, VZV also belongs to the alphaherpesviruses, and is the smallest Herpes virus having a close structural and functional similarity to the Herpes simplex virus 1. These are DNA viruses, encased in a membrane, which contain double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) and and are very easily transmitted in humans as they are highly contagious. (1) According to the Robert Koch Institute, there is evidence that 95 % of the German population have antibodies against VZV.
Primary infection: The VZV penetrates the cell nucleus of the host cells and releases its viral DNA genome there. Subsequent replication of the virus occurs in several stages. Once the vesicle membrane has fused with the cell membrane, the mature virions then leave the host cell and disperse in their environment. The viruses spre...

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