The National Institute of Virology (NIV) has identified the presence of the Clade 9 variant of the varicella-zoster virus (VZV), which causes chickenpox, in India for the first time. A clade is a distinct subtype or group that originates from a common ancestor.
A scientist at NIV and one of the study’s authors, stated that Clade 9 is the predominant VZV strain in countries like Germany, the UK, and the US. However, this study marks the initial documentation of VZV Clade 9 circulating in India.
What Is The Varicella-Zoster Virus?
The varicella-zoster virus can lead to chickenpox, primarily in children and adolescents, and shingles in adults. It is one of the nine known herpes viruses that infect humans.
In this recent study, scientists discovered that out of 331 suspected VZV cases, 28 individuals with vesicular rashes tested positive for VZV. Their analysis confirmed the presence of Clade 1, Clade 5, and, notably, Clade 9 in India. While Clade 1 and Clade 5 were previously identified in the country, this study marks the first detection of Clade 9 in India.
Symptoms Of Varicella-Zoster Virus
Health experts report that symptoms associated with Clade 9 chickenpox include a rash, fever, reduced appetite, headache, fatigue, and a general sense of unwellness.
The chickenpox rash typically emerges 2-3 weeks after exposure to the virus, appearing as papule-like bumps. As the rash develops, patients may experience additional symptoms such as fever, body aches, and headaches. This entire process unfolds over a two-week period, and the patient remains infectious until scabs form.
While there is no need for panic in the country, it is essential to understand how to prevent infection. The most effective prevention method is vaccination. Consult your doctor regarding necessary vaccinations.
Other preventive measures include maintaining good hygiene to reduce the risk of virus transmission. Regularly wash your hands with soap and water, particularly after coughing, sneezing, or when in proximity to potentially infected individuals or objects. Also, avoid close contact with individuals suffering from chickenpox or shingles.
(This article is meant for informational purposes only and must not be considered a substitute for advice provided by qualified medical professionals.)