BSIP VEM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY BSIP VEM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Varicella-zoster virus. Coloured transmission electron micrograph (TEM) through a Varicella- zoster virus, the cause of human chickenpox and shingles. This round virus (at centre) is made up of a icosahedral (20-sided) capsid covered in surface protein spikes. The virus is held within a lobed capsule also with surface proteins (yellow and orange). Chickenpox is a highly infectious illness mainly affecting children. A childhood attack of chickenpox gives immunity to the disease. The virus, however, remains latent and if reactivated produces shingles in adults. Shingles causes pain in locally infected nerves together with skin blistering. Magnification unknown.
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