What are the typical initial symptoms of varicella-zoster virus (VZV) infection?

Updated: Feb 15, 2019
  • Author: Wayne E Anderson, DO, FAHS, FAAN; Chief Editor: Pranatharthi Haran Chandrasekar, MBBS, MD  more...
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Pain and paresthesia are typically the first symptoms. Until the characteristic vesicular rash erupts, diagnosis may be difficult.

A prodromal period during which symptoms may vary is common. Pain occurs in 41% of patients, itching in 27%, and paresthesias in 12%.

During the acute illness, 90% of patients experience pain, 20% describe helplessness and depression, and 12% experience flulike symptoms.

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