In 1873 Trousseau1 wrote in his famous work on clinical medicine: "No physician has ever seen a patient die of chickenpox, though, of course, there may be a fatal issue from some complication independent of the exanthematous fever." Today the benign nature of chickenpox and its infrequency in adults are emphasized in all textbooks of medicine. McKinley (1935)2 stated: "The disease is never fatal." Serious complications are rare and usually the result of secondary infection of the specific lesions with pyogenic organisms, especially streptococci. Bullowa and Wishik (1935)3 found a mortality rate of 0.4 per cent and complications in 5.2 per cent of 2,534 cases of chickenpox recorded at the Willard Parker Hospital during a five year period, Jan. 1, 1929, to Dec. 31, 1933. The most common complications were otitis media, abscess, pneumonia, lymphadenitis, cellulitis, septicemia and erysipelas. Among the 2,534 cases were 21 instances of
WARING JJ, NEUBUERGER K, GEEVER EF. SEVERE FORMS OF CHICKENPOX IN ADULTS: WITH AUTOPSY OBSERVATIONS IN A CASE WITH ASSOCIATED PNEUMONIA AND ENCEPHALITIS. Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1942;69(3):384–408. doi:10.1001/archinte.1942.00200150017002
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