CPS observes a number of chicken pox cases; Parents advised to keep diagnosed children at home

There has been a number of chicken pox (varicella) cases on the island during the past two weeks and the Collective Prevention Service (CPS), a public health agency of the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, based on its observed numbers in its physician base sentinel is advising schools and pre-schools that affected children should be kept at home until the lesions are crusted, which usually occurs in five to seven days’ time.


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CPS in comparing the reported numbers in 2011 for the period of January to February, which adds up to 12 clinically diagnosed cases to 19 clinically diagnosed cases in 2012 for the same period, took initiatives to monitor and share information on varicella. In addition to the observed numbers the increased monitoring and awareness initiative is also based on a reported suspected measles case on the French side. Physicians were requested to be on the alert for rash and fever and request to refer patients to the laboratory to confirm variecella (chickenpox) and of course to rule out measles.

Chickenpox is usually a mild disease in children. But the itching can

be very uncomfortable. Children with chickenpox miss many days of school or child care.

The disease can also cause serious problems, which include the following:

• Bacterial infection of the skin and tissues under the skin (including group A streptococcal infections)

• Dehydration (loss of body fluids) from vomiting or diarrhea

• Pneumonia (lung infection)

• Encephalitis (brain swelling). Most cases are mild, but some can be deadly.

Chickenpox spreads easily through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It can also spread by touching fluid from blisters. Children with chickenpox usually must miss school or child care for at least a week to avoid spreading the virus to others. Considering it is airborne use take hand cough preventive measures and disinfect/sanitize surroundings.

Susceptible persons are 80 to 90 per cent at risk of getting the disease once exposed to it. Chicken pox is a disease caused by infection with the varicella zoster virus, which causes fever and an itchy rash.

Symptoms can include a skin rash of blister-like lesions, covering the body but usually more concentrated on the face, scalp, and trunk.

Not all infected individuals have fever, which develops just before or when the rash appears.

In most cases chicken pox is not a serious health threat but life-threatening complications can occur. No one can predict who will get serious complications from the disease.

"So don’t take chances, take your child to their physician to get checked," said Minister of Public Health, Social Development & Labor, Cornelius De Weever. The Minister of Public Health Social Development & Labor, Cornelius De Weever is advising the community to not take chances.

Parents are being advised to consult their physicians, adhere to the physicians’ advice and keep their children home if diagnosed with rash and fever. Businesses are also encouraged to cooperate in assisting parents to provide home care for their child(ren).