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Volume 21, Number 4—April 2015
Etymologia

Etymologia: Varicella Zoster Virus

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Varicella Zoster Virus [var″i-sel′ə zos′tər vi′rəs]

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Thumbnail of Legend: Electron micrograph showing varicella zoster virus (VZV).

Figure. Legend: Electron micrograph showing varicella zoster virus.

A member of the family Herpesviridae, varicella zoster virus (VZV) is named for the 2 main diseases (chickenpox and herpes zoster [shingles]) it causes. Varicella (Figure) may be a diminutive of “variola” because it was considered a mild form of smallpox. “Variola” was coined by Rudolph Augustin Vogel in 1764 and is possibly derived from the Latin varus (“pimple”) or varius (“speckled”). Herpes zoster derives from the Greek terms herpein (“to creep”) and zoster (“belt”). Not until the twentieth century was VZV recognized as the cause of both these diseases.

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References

  1. Lustig  R. Dictionary of medical terminology [in Italian]. Milan: Società Editrice Libraria; 1927. p. 495.
  2. Weller  TH. Historical perspective. In: Arvin AM, Gershon AA, editors. Varicella-zoster virus: virology and clinical management. Cambridge (UK): Cambridge University Press; 2000. p. 9–24.
  3. Weller  TH. Varicella: historical perspective and clinical overview. J Infect Dis. 1996;174(Suppl 3):S3069 . DOIPubMed

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Cite This Article

DOI: 10.3201/eid2104.et2104

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Table of Contents – Volume 21, Number 4—April 2015

Page created: March 17, 2015
Page updated: March 17, 2015
Page reviewed: March 17, 2015
The conclusions, findings, and opinions expressed by authors contributing to this journal do not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Public Health Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the authors' affiliated institutions. Use of trade names is for identification only and does not imply endorsement by any of the groups named above.
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