Chickenpox is a miserable week for most kids, threatens to be much more dangerous for adults, and keeps patients of all ages indoors and in bed for days. But according to a new study published in Virology, the viral disease may be less likely to spread when exposed to the sun. The study, headed by University of London researchers, found that chickenpox is found less commonly in regions with high levels of UV radiation, which is known to inactivate viruses. The pattern could explain why chickenpox is seen less frequently in warmer months in some countries, lead researcher Phil Rice of St. George's, University of London told BBC News.
But the lower incidence of the disease may not all be attributable to the sun. Temperature, humidity, and other environmental factors may also contribute, Judy Breuer from University College London told the BBC. “It's quite possible that UV is having an effect, but we don't have any firm evidence showing the extent this is happening.”