The Bond County Health Department is alerting parents that a student at a Greenville school has contracted chickenpox. The child’s class and grade have not been announced.
WGEL spoke with Registered Nurse Stephanie DuPlayee at the Bond County Health Department, who shared some important information for parents to know:
According to the health department, most children attending school are expected to be protected against varicella infections by vaccination or immunity due to a previous disease. However, susceptible children exposed to someone with chickenpox could begin to have symptoms within the next two weeks. Although the course of the illness is usually mild and not life-threatening to children, it may be severe in infants, adults, and those with impaired immune systems. School and public health rules require that children with chickenpox be excluded for five days following the onset of their pox or until all exposed chickenpox are dried or crusted over.
Symptoms of varicella appear most commonly 14-16 days following exposure, but may take as long as 21 days. Symptoms include a fever, a feeling of tiredness, ad an itchy rash. The rash – or pox – generally starts as small red spots on the chest, stomach, or back and then on the face. The infected person may get only a few spots or a cluster of spots, or they may develop hundreds of them within the first three to five days of the rash. The spots scab in a few days and can be very itchy.
Chickenpox is one of the most readily communicable diseases. It is contagious one to two days before the rash appears and until all blisters have formed scabs. It can be spread from person to person by direct contact with fluid from the blisters or with secretions from the respiratory tract or handling an infected person’s clothing or bedding. Airborne transmission is possible through sneezing and coughing.
A two-shot vaccine that can prevent chickenpox is available and has been shown to be safe for children who are older than 12 months of age. If your child does not have a history of varicella disease or vaccination, contact the Bond County Health Department or your child’s physician about acquiring the vaccination.
Since chickenpox has been introduced to the school environment, parents should be watchful of their students for possible symptoms. If anyone in your home develops symptoms of chickenpox, contact your regular health care provider.
A letter has been sent home to Unit 2 parents with more information. If you have questions, contact the Bond County Health Department at 664-1442.