Barbara Walters Has Chicken Pox

Walters had high fever after falling, hitting head 10 days ago.

ByABC News
January 28, 2013, 9:58 AM

Jan. 28, 2013— -- Update: Jan. 29, 2013

Barbara Walters is at home resting comfortably and is getting stronger.

The veteran journalist is recovering from chicken pox, more than a week after she fell and cut her temple during inauguration weekend.

"We want to give you an update on Barbara. You all know that she fell and cut her head 10 days ago, and then was running a temperature, but it turns out it is all the result of a delayed childhood. Barbara has the chicken pox. She'd never had it as a child. So now she's been told to rest, she's not allowed any visitors. and we're telling you, Barbara, no scratching," Whoopi Goldberg said on "The View" Monday.

Thanks to a vaccine introduced in 1995, chickenpox among adults is rare. Only one in 10,000 American men and women are diagnosed each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"However, it needs to be taken seriously since adults are at increased risk of complications including pneumonia, brain inflammation, and bacterial skin infections," said ABC News' chief health and medical editor Dr. Richard Besser. "If you think you never had chicken pox, regardless of your age, see your doctor to talk about whether you should get vaccinated."

Just like kids with chicken pox, adults are contagious from two days before they have a rash until the rash has fully scabbed over, which can take a week or longer, according to Besser. And anyone who has had chicken pox is at risk for shingles, a painful skin rash caused by the same virus.

"Shingles occurs when the virus, lying dormant in your nerve roots, reactivates," said Besser, adding that a shingles vaccine is available and recommended for all adults aged 60 and older. "The vaccine will cut in half your chances of getting shingles."

Walters was transferred to a New York hospital late last week.

"We love you. We miss you. We just don't want to hug you," Goldberg said in a message to Walters.

The veteran ABC News journalist, who has interviewed every American president and first lady since Richard Nixon, fell on a stair at the British ambassador's residence over inauguration weekend, and out of an abundance of caution, was taken to the hospital to be examined by doctors.

In a statement last week, Walters said she wanted to "thank all the people who have called, written and been concerned about me."

CLICK HERE for the Making of a Barbara Walters Interview.

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events