London: Exposure to sunlight may play a role in obstructing spread of chicken pox as it inactivates viruses on the skin, a new study has revealed.
The University of London team found that chickenpox is less common in regions with high UV levels.
However, other experts assert that other factors like temperature, humidity, and even living conditions are equally likely to play a role.
The varicella-zoster virus is extremely contagious, while it can be spread through the coughs and sneezes in the early stages of the infection, the main source is contact with the trademark rash of blisters and spots.
According to Dr Phil Rice, from St George’s, University of London, who led the research, UV light has long been known to inactivate viruses, and this holds the key why chickenpox is less common and less easily passed from person to person in tropical countries.
He examined data from 25 earlier studies on varicella-zoster virus in a variety of countries around the world, and plotted these data against a range of climatic factors, a news channel reported.
This indicates an evident link between UV levels and chickenpox virus prevalence.
“No-one had considered UV as a factor before, but when I looked at the epidemiological studies they showed a good correlation between global latitude and the presence of the virus,” Dr Rice said.
The study has been published in the journal Virology.