Chickenpox is transmitted when a person comes in contact with secretions from the mouth or eye of an infected individual. Occasionally there is airborne spread caused by droplets from coughing or sneezing. Rarely, a person can acquire the disease from direct contact with shingles skin lesions. Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a reactivation of the chickenpox virus later in life.
With the advent of the chickenpox vaccine, it is becoming less likely for a child to develop chickenpox from exposure in the community; there is simply less of it around. Parents and physicians have all noticed a marked decline in the frequency of the disease. Even so, it is still much more prevalent than measles, mumps, or rubella, which are very rare.