Volume 21, Number 4—April 2015
Etymologia: 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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