Varicella (also chicken pox)

What is varicella?

Varicella – also known as chicken pox – is caused by a highly contagious virus. Chicken pox is a condition with an itchy rash with blisters and a fever. Sometimes, however, this can lead to inflammation of the lungs, brain and liver. This risk is higher in adults than in children and is particularly dangerous in pregnant women and in those with a weakened immune system. During pregnancy, varicella can lead to malformations in the child or even the loss of the unborn child. Following the chicken pox illness, the virus retreats back into the nervous system and remains there for the rest of that person’s life. At a later stage, it can once again advance and cause severe pain and a rash on the skin, occasionally on the eye or ear, and in a distinctive area – along the nerve tract affected. This rash often extends from the spine in a linear fashion around the body, hence the name shingles (herpes zoster). These later effects can happen at any age, especially for those over 50 and those with a weakened immune system.

Treatment for varicella should relieve the symptoms. In severe conditions, those affected by the virus will receive medication for it.

Varicella is passed on through skin-to-skin contact and droplet transmission, most notably through speech, coughs and sneezes. However, just staying in the same room as someone infected with the virus can lead to you falling ill. In most cases, it takes 12 to 21 days from infection for the symptoms to appear.

Vaccination advice for children and young people

The Austrian Vaccination Plan recommends the varicella vaccination for children after their first birthday.

The vaccination must be paid for.

Vaccination schedule

First vaccination: Recommended after their first birthday
Second vaccination: recommended 6 weeks later, no earlier than 4 weeks after the first vaccination but should be given prior to entering any care facilities (creche, nursery, etc.).

Booster vaccinations are not required.

Booster vaccinations are not required.

The Austrian Vaccination Plan recommends the varicella vaccination for any adults and young people who have not had chicken pox and are not yet vaccinated, primarily for women planning on having children and staff in the health sector and in community establishments such as nurseries and schools.

The vaccination must be paid for.

Vaccination schedule

First vaccination: Any time but not during pregnancy Second vaccination: recommended 6 weeks later, no earlier than 4 weeks after the first vaccination

Booster vaccinations are not required.

Information and consultancy service

Want to protect your child? Not sure whether you actually had chicken pox when you were a child? Why not discuss it with your paediatrician or GP!

We would be happy to help you decide which vaccinations are best for you!
Book an appointment onlineor make an appointment on the phone with the City of Vienna vaccination service: Tel. +43 1 / 4000 – 8015