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Varicella/Chicken pox

George Kemble kemble at biomail.aviron.com
Thu May 5 15:35:52 EST 1994

        Reply to:   RE>Varicella/Chicken pox
   Why the name "chickenpox"?  Chapter 71 (authored by Lawrence Gelb) of Bernard
Fields Virology textbook suggests that chickenpox is derived from the French
word, "chiche", which means chickpea.  This is an apparent reference to the look
and size of the pock.  Alternatively, it may be a derivative of the old English
word "gican" which means to itch.  This is a reference to a symptom of the
disease with which most of us have been all too aware of at some point in our
   If these answers appear to be too academic, tell her that the skin of someone
who has chickenpox looks like that of a plucked chicken!!!
    Hope you get the answer and not the disease. 
    Sincerely, G. Kemble

Date: 5/5/94 7:19 AM
To: George Kemble
From: Howard Taylor

      My daughter (5 years old) asked me last night "Why is Chicken pox 
called Chicken pox, Daddy?"

Well couldnt answer...looked in acouple of books... nobody addresses this 
question! ....
Can some one help me out?

  Cheers,  Howard.

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