Health Watch -- Infections: Chicken Pox and Adults

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


We're talking about different kinds of infections this week on Health Watch. Chicken pox is usually thought of as a children's disease, but doctors at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas say adults may need to be concerned about it, too. The infection is usually more serious in adults and can lead to encephalitis or pneumonia. It can even be fatal.

Dr. James Luby, an expert on infectious diseases at UT Southwestern, says adults who don't recall having chicken pox as children should be tested for immunity to the disease. If they don't have immunity, they should receive the chicken pox vaccine. Most adults who have died of chicken pox since the vaccine became available caught it from their children.


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March 2006

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