Herpes is an extremely stigmatized word. In certain circles, it’s synonymous with filthy. In the others, it’s used as an insult. However herpes isn’t just one thing. It’s a word with several meanings. That is the reason why there is not a simple yes or no reply to this question of if chicken pox is herpes, even though chicken pox is unquestionably caused by a member of the herpes virus family.
Herpesviridae is the technical term for the type of viruses known as herpes viruses. At least five such viruses are proven to not just infect people but to be extremely common. These viruses contain:
- HSV-1 – the virus that was known as the”oral herpes” or”cold sore” virus. HSV-1 is now responsible for a rising number of genital herpes infections, since it can be transmitted during oral sex
- HSV-2 – the virus which used to be responsible for most cases of genital herpes. HSV-2 still primarily infects the genital area. This is the virus most people are considering them when they say a person has herpes.
- Varicella Zoster Virus (VZV) – this is the virus responsible for the youth disease called Chicken Pox and also for Shingles. Shingles is a debilitating disease which normally occurs in older adults. Infection with this virus is somewhat preventable via vaccine. What’s chicken pox herpes? Yesin the sense that it is caused by a herpes virus.
- Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) – this virus causes mononucleosis. Additionally, it has been tentatively linked to some cases of chronic fatigue syndrome. However, there needs to be substantially more research prior to this kind of institution can be verified
- Cytomegalovirus – infection by this virus, also known as CMV, is rarely noticed in healthy people. However, infection can be very severe in somebody who’s immuno-compromised – for instance if they have HIV. CMV disease may also be dangerous during pregnancy. That can be because mothers are much more likely to pass a new infection on to their babies. CMV in babies can cause severe, long-term health issues.
Herpes – The Infection
In general, when someone states that they have herpes, they mean that they have genital herpes. It is technically correct, however, to refer to either genital herpes or oral herpes as herpes. However, infections with the other herpes viruses – CMV, VZV, and EBV – are NOT usually referred to as herpes infections. Consequently, in this sense, chicken pox is not herpes, since it is not among those diseases commonly known as herpes.
So… Is Chicken Pox Herpes?
Getting back to the original query, chicken pox is caused by a herpes virus, but it isn’t generally thought of as a herpes infection. Which may be confusing, but the one reason it sounds so significant is due to the strong negative connotations individuals have about the term herpes. These are feelings that we don’t wish to use to a frequent childhood illness such as the chicken pox.
It’s worth noting that chicken pox is not the only illness caused by a herpes virus that is common in youth. CMV and EBV happen in young individuals too… and thus does oral herpes. Until somewhat recently, many (if not most) oral herpes infections were transmitted via casual contact with relatives throughout childhood. Your parents, aunts, or cousins got cold sores, and they loved one, hugged you, and kissed you…
So that you got them too. As recently as between 1999-2004, 39 percent of American 14-19 year olds were contaminated with HSV-1. Most of the infections were oral, and only a fraction were probably acquired through sexual behavior. The prevalence of HSV-1 in adolescents has diminished somewhat in recent years, to around 30 percent, but oral herpes is still a common childhood illness — like the chicken pox.
There are a few big differences, however. Chicken pox is far more uncomfortable at the short term… and far less stigmatized in the long-term. It also tends to just reactivate within the body after, if it does this whatsoever.
Oh, and it’s not frequently transmitted by sex. That’s probably a significant reason why although chicken pox is brought on by a herpes virus, most individuals do not consider chicken pox to become herpes. Genital herpes, after all, is primarily frightening not because of the type of virus which triggers it, but because it is an STD. That is also why many people refer to oral herpes because cold sores when it occurs in childhood and as herpes just if it’s associated with sex.