Varicella Zoster Virus
Category: Illness or disabilities
Introduction and description
Varicella zoster virus (VZV) is one of eight herpesviruses known to infect humans. VZV infections are species-specific to humans. VZV is known by many names, including chickenpox virus, varicella virus, zoster virus, and, human herpesvirus type 3 (HHV-3).
After the primary infection (chickenpox), or after vaccination, the virus goes dormant in the nerves, including the cranial nerve ganglia, dorsal root ganglia, and autonomic ganglia. Many years after the patient has recovered from chickenpox or had the vaccination, VZV can reactivate to cause a number of neurologic conditions.
Diseases and illnesses caused by VZV
The generally held opinion is that VZV causes chicken pox. But VZV is an extremely dangerous virus able to cause a whole host of diseases and very severe illnesses. In the following list, - which is not exhaustive - the proof of causation is to be found by following the links for each disease where reference papers from PubMed are provided. In some cases I have provided an extra example here:
A disease most commonly affecting children, teens and young adults.
also called herpes zoster (shingles) in older adults
Ramsay Hunt syndrome
inability to move many facial muscles, pain in the ear, taste loss on the front of the tongue, dry eyes and mouth, and a vesicular rash
a sudden onset inflammation of the brain.
- either direct viral pneumonia or secondary bacterial pneumonia
- either viral bronchitis or secondary bacterial bronchitis
Postherpetic neuralgia and various sorts of Nervous system disease
- nerve pain and many related nervous system disorders, including GBS
– which is meningitis, inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord, known collectively as the meninges.
Stillbirths and miscarriages
Varicella infection in pregnant women can lead to viral transmission via the placenta and infection of the fetus. If infection occurs during the first 28 weeks of gestation, this can lead to 'fetal varicella syndrome', which causes a whole host of fetal abnormalities. It can also lead to miscarriages and still births.
Atherosclerosis and endothelial dysfunction
– in other words blood circulatory diseases, which then lead on to various heart diseases.
The Varicella zoster virus (VZV) vasculopathy produces stroke secondary to viral infection of cerebral arteries. Not all patients have a rash before the cerebral ischemia or stroke occurs . Furthermore, ‘other vasculitides produce similar clinical features and comparable imaging’, menaig it is difficult to diagnose, [PMID: 18332343]
– the types of cancer are not known for certainty, but the link is there in a number of studies
Infections with varicella-zoster virus (VVZ) in immunocompromised children imply a high mortality. There is no data about VVZ seroprevalence in children with cancer in our country…… 179 samples from 179 children, 65% male. Ninety eighth/179 (55%) were positive, 72/179 (40%) negative and 9/179 (5%) indeterminate. Stratified by age, seropositive percentage was: 1 to 4 years 32%, 5-9 years 42%, 10-14 years 78%, over 15 years 88%. PMID: 23412026
– and a number of other eye diseases
The ocular manifestations of viral infection vary greatly. …. infection with herpes simplex virus or varicella-zoster virus, …. may lead to corneal thinning or perforation, glaucoma and cataract formation. PMID: 6089128
which has more than one cause but viruses are one cause of the mutations
Newborn screening cards of 443 white case patients with cerebral palsy and 883 white controls were tested for viral nucleic acids from enteroviruses and herpes viruses by using polymerase chain reaction. Herpes group A viruses included herpes simplex viruses 1 and 2 (HSV-1 and HSV-2), Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), cytomegalovirus (CMV), and human herpes virus 8 (HHV-8), and herpes group B viruses included varicella zoster virus (VZV) and human herpes viruses 6 and 7 (HHV-6 and HHV-7). The prevalence of viral nucleic acids in the control population was high: 39.8% of controls tested positive, and the prevalence was highest in preterm babies. The detection of herpes group B viral nucleic acids increased the risk of developing cerebral palsy (odds ratio 1.68, 95% confidence interval 1.09 to 2.59). Perinatal exposure to neurotropic viruses is associated with preterm delivery and cerebral palsy. PMID: 16399770
– which has a number of causes, one of which is viruses.
Fetal membranes (FM) derived mesenchymal stromal/stem cells (MSCs) are higher in number, expansion and differentiation abilities compared with those obtained from adult tissues, including bone marrow. ….. We present here evidence that FM-MSCs are fully permissive to infection with Herpes simplex virus 1 and 2 (HSV-1 and HSV-2), Varicella zoster virus (VZV), and Human Cytomegalovirus (HCMV) PMID: 23940750
Gout, Rheumatoid arthritis, Osteoarthritis, Axial spondyloarthritis
Viral agents have been suspected as participants of immune-mediated disorders. In the case of rheumatic diseases, the synovial joint cavity represents a secluded area of inflammation which could harbor etiological agents. We analyzed by polymerase chain reaction the possible presence of DNA from various herpes viruses in blood and synovial fluid from patients with either rheumatoid arthritis (n = 18), axial spondyloarthritis (n = 11), or osteoarthritis (n = 8). Relevant findings were as follows: DNA from varicella zoster virus was found in synovial fluid but not in blood mononuclear cells from 33 % of patients with rheumatoid arthritis and in 45 % of patients with axial spondyloarthritis but not in patients with osteoarthritis. PMID: 25980837
Ear diseases including Meniere’s disease
VZV, influenza B, CBV5 and RSV titers were significantly elevated in patients with inner ear disease when compared with the control group. In analyzing the internal relationship, VZV and influenza B were intercorrelated. …... In conclusion, VZV, Coxsackie virus B5 and influenza B virus may be the main causes of inner ear disorder. The spiral and Scarpa's ganglion are potential sites harboring viral DNA for possible latent infection. PMID: 18235204
Which has multiple causes, but VZV is one implicated.
Again, there are multiple causes but VZV is one virus implicated
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most common neurological autoimmune disease, characterized by multifocal areas of inflammatory demyelination within the central nervous system. It has been hypothesized that the stimulation of the immune system by viral infections is the leading cause of MS among susceptible individuals. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of the varicella zoster virus (VZV) in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis…… These results support the hypothesis that VZV may contribute to MS in establishing a systemic infection process and inducing an immune response. PMID: 27226879
If we are being severely attacked by viruses, the body increases the adipose tissue in order to store all the immune system 'troops' and repair substances it needs to fight these viruses. Thus obesity is an effect of high viral attack
Pancreas disease and pancreatitis
Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) is a type of herpes virus known to cause varicella, mainly in young children, and herpes zoster in adults. Although generally non-lethal, VZV infection can be associated with serious complications, particularly in adults. …. Here we report a 44-year-old immunocompetent female who developed acute pancreatitis associated with VZV infection. The patient presented with vomiting and persistent pain in the upper quadrant less than one week after diagnosis and treatment for a herpes zoster-related rash with stabbing pain on the abdomen and dorsal right trunk side. PMID: 25548507
Various brain disorders – Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease etc etc
We evaluated the association of HSV-1, HHV-6, and VZV with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and Parkinson's disease (PD). Brain specimens for viral DNA polymerase chain reaction represented 34 patients with AD, 40 with PD, and 40 controls. One AD patient (2.9%) was positive for HSV-1 DNA, 88.2% for HHV-6 DNA, and 26.5% for VZV DNA; 17.5% of PD patients were HSV-1 DNA-positive and 75% HHV-6-positive, whereas 40% had VZV DNA. PMID: 12891684
Systemic lupus erythematosis
Varicella is a typical acute exanthematous viral infection caused by varicella-zoster virus (VZV). In recent years, as far as hepatic dysfunction caused by viruses other than the hepatitis virus is concerned, there …. [is a report of] an immunocompromized adult following treatment for Systemic lupus erythematosis. (SLE) in Japan. PMID: 9621571
After a bout of chicken pox, or a vaccination, we are often told by our doctor that we have developed ‘immunity’, that the virus has been beaten and that our body has a record of what it looks like so that if it attacks again, it will know what to do. But this is not exactly right.
VZV exhibits latency. Virus latency (or viral latency) is the ability of a pathogenic virus to lie dormant (latent) within a cell, denoted as the lysogenic part of the viral life cycle. A latent viral infection is thus a type of persistent viral infection.
Latency is the phase in certain viruses' life cycles in which, after initial infection, proliferation of virus particles ceases. You may think it is beaten, the symptoms go away and to all intents and appearances the immune system looks like it has won.
However, the viral genome is not fully eradicated.
The result of this is that the virus can reactivate and begin producing large amounts of viral progeny without the host being infected by new outside virus, denoted as the lytic part of the viral life cycle, and stays within the host indefinitely.
Thus there are two main causes of any illness which results from this virus:
- VZV caught as a child, this is chicken pox
- Vaccination with the Varicella zoster virus
The claim is made by those who favour immunisation that the virus has been eliminated, but with all latent viruses, this is not true. All that vaccination achieves is to give a child a virus he did not have before, train his immune system to recognise the virus and spare him or her the misery of chicken pox.
But the virus is still there in the body.
The vaccination being ‘offered’ [or forced] on us is a live attenuated VZV strain, a variety of the virus. Children in Australia, the United States, and many other countries are being given this virus. Vaccine coverage in the United States in the population recommended for vaccination is approaching 90%. Far fewer cases of chicken pox have as a result occurred, but the problem is that doctors have then claimed this is a resounding success. When as you should be able to see it is anything of the sort.
VZV whether we get it by vaccine or as child hood disease can pounce again.
So the real reason we get all the diseases mentionned above, is because our immune system has been compromised in some way and the virus has emerged again triumphant ready to cause damage, and it will emerge from wherever it has secreted itself, so that is why there appear to be so many confusing symptoms and sites of disease.
What it attacks and where it attacks depends entirely on where it has managed to get to in the body, as such one can have a hundred and one names for all these syndromes even though it is the same virus.
The key to prevention is not, as we have seen, vaccination, nor is it - in theory - getting chicken pox as a child, HOWEVER, there are cases where it would appear that, as long as the treatment is correct, the virus is never given the chance to become latent, but an immune system record is built - and of course this is the ideal. You neither have the virus, but you have the necessary immune system record to ensure you don't catch it.
Given the zeal with which authorities are vaccinating children in every direction, and making it illegal to refuse a vaccination, this possibility seems to have been removed, as a choice, from us.
In fact vaccinating a child makes him or her a carrier, and a long term carrier at that. By vaccination we are actually spreading disease world-wide.
Let us suppose a previously vaccinated man goes to an area which does not harbour the virus. He has flown, so his body clock is all over the place, he is stressed because he is there to work, he is having difficulty with the change of food. His immune system is at a very low ebb as a result, and maybe the virus reactivates. He thinks it is something he has caught whilst he is in the foreign country, but actually he brought it with him and now he is busily shedding the virus all over the local population, no doubt blaming them for his ailments.
There will then be an outbreak of chicken pox [or worse in adults], and the 'authorities' will say, ‘ah we said you needed vaccination’, and the population will then all be given the virus via vaccination. And so it will be spread.
We can of course say something totally infeasible – ‘all people who have been vaccinated or have had chicken pox as a child can no longer travel’. But it wouldn’t work, so the only real answer is to ensure the immune system is NEVER COMPROMISED.
What compromises the immune system?
If we know what compromises the immune system we can do our best to avoid compromising it, by taking avoiding measures.
Avoid Lack of sleep
Sleeping has a number of functions. One is the defragging of memory, another is learning from the perceptions gathered during the waking period, but the third purpose of sleep is healing. Thus lack of sleep causes illness and sleeping helps heal.
Avoid Nutritional deprivation
A nutrient is a substance that the body requires in order to 'fuel' itself - both give it energy to operate fuelling muscles, nerves and organs and also help it replace worn out cells. It also helps us maintain a constant working temperature; as we are not 'cold blooded', nutrients are there to keep our temperature at optimum running heat. It is also the fuel that helps us fight parasites, bacteria, viruses, fungi, and toxins, including heavy metals. Thus it is also fuel for the immune system.
Nutritional deprivation can also be too many nutrients for the lifestyle we lead as much as too little. Too many nutrients for our needs becomes a form of poisoning. DO NOT USE SUPPLEMENTS use - good food.
Avoid Stress and anxiety
Lots of negative emotion results in the invocation of the sympathetic nervous system - fight or flight. This system was designed to help us escape danger and quite a number of essential systems shut down whilst we 'escape' metaphorically speaking. Weeing and pooing, being able to have an erection, digestion all virtually stop, and so does the immune system. Thus any form of fear or negative emotion temporarily suppresses the immune system.
You can help fight stress using very simple relaxation methods. You have no need for a doctor or medication.
Avoid Getting cold
Cold is a great stressor on the body. Our body has to work harder to maintain body temperature and needs more fuel in the way of food to generate that heat. Furthermore cold serves to contract our blood vessels in order to conserve heat which means our immune system has to work harder to fight disease and attacks by pathogens.
Warmth on the other hand - not appalling heat, but a temperature sufficiently above body heat to mean we are warm but not overheated serves as a relaxant. It encourages the parasympathetic nervous system, and is a great aid to healing
When your immune system is functioning at maximum , it should be capable of dealing with any infection caused by VZV. So, what else compromises the immune system? Pharmaceuticals compromise the immune system.
- Nasal sprays – often with anti-histamine in them can result in entry of a pathogen because the natural histamine reaction of the body against pathogens has been suppressed
- Anti-histamines in general work against the body’s natural histamine defence against pathogens, including those in cough medicines
- Immunosuppressants – suppress the immune system full stop and are implicated in causing hundreds of illnesses
- Antacids and PPIs – suppress the acid in the stomach which is there to kill pathogens. Indigestion and GERD is not caused by too much acid, but by too little when the body’s sympathetic nervous system is in operation – stress and fear again.
- Antibiotics – destroy the intestinal flora and it is this natural flora that prevents pathogens entering the blood stream. Our misuse of antibiotics has resulted in numerous illnesses
According to eHealthme around 750 pharmaceuticals have been implicated in causing immunosuppression, as at October 2016, around 650 can cause immune dysfunction, around 800 can cause immune system disorders.
Pharmaceuticals are, on this evidence, extremely bad for your health.
From this last section, we should be able to see that the best way to fight this virus is to sleep, keep very snugly warm, eat really well [not to excess, but organically with plenty of vitamins, minerals and amino acids], use relaxation techniques and relax as much as possible, avoiding all doctors with their pharmaceuticals like the very plague [I jest - or maybe I don't].
References and further reading
All the paintings on this page are by Swedish artist Simon Stålenhag.
Simon is based in the countryside outside of Stockholm, Sweden.
He has been involved with a lot of different projects, ranging from films, commercials and book covers to art directing and concepting for video games. He is also the second half of Pixeltruss (the other half being Tommy Salomonsson).
- Antiviral activity of liquorice powder extract against varicella zoster virus isolated from Egyptian patients 017907
- Dr Duke's list of activity for Vitamin C 017762
- Dr Duke's list of plants with a large number of chemicals having antiviral activity 017909
- Efficacy of intravenous magnesium in neuropathic pain 027627
- Liquorice and antiviral actions including HIV 012300
- Liquorice, Shingles, Chicken pox and the varicella-zoster virus 012296
- Liquorice, TCM and viral infections 012299
- Mrs Grieve on Nettles 016790
- Mrs Grieve on Yarrow 017658
- Shingles and Vitamin C 012309
- Shingles, zinc and a 'cocktail of fruit and vegetables' 012310
- Stephen Harrod Buhner - Herbal Antivirals - Ginger 017501
- The Healing Power of Sleep 026790
- Hallucinations caused by anti-virals 006946
- Hallucinations from antihistamines and chicken pox 006945
- Hallucinations from chicken pox 016826
- Hallucinations from chicken pox virus 006947
- Herpes zoster and hallucinations 006135
- Mad itching - 'sensory hallucinations of pruritogenic stimuli' 006133
- Psychosis from Encephalitis 006951
- The strange case of Mrs O 006950
- Valacyclovir and Valacyclovir Hydrochloride 020338
- Valtrex 005610
- Varicella zoster and alcohol psychoses 006952
- Viral aetiologies of acute encephalitis in a hospital-based South Asian population 027565
- Viruses and brain damage 006933
- Viruses and psychoses 006934
- Mad itching - 'sensory hallucinations of pruritogenic stimuli' 006133
- Oliver Sacks - Growing and shrinking during chicken pox 001668