Published On: Wed, Dec 28th, 2016

Chicken Pox virus in Curaçao

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WILLEMSTAD - Many schools in Curacao reported a spread of chicken pox virus among young students in the month of December 2016 so it is crucial to shed some light on this highly contagious virus.

According to CDC (centers for disease control and prevention) in USA Chickenpox or varicella is a transmittable disease that causes a blister-like rash, itching, and fever, the rash appears first on the stomach, back and face and can spread over the entire body causing itchy blisters accompanied by fatigue, loss of appetite and headache.

Some people who have been vaccinated against chickenpox can still get the disease but with milder symptoms, an infected person can spread the disease from 1 to 2 days before he gets the rash until all the blisters have formed crusts (usually 5-7 days).

It takes about 2 weeks after exposure to a person with chickenpox for someone to develop the virus which usually attacks just once in a lifetime, after infecting someone chickenpox hides in nerve cells then it can come back years later and cause a painful disease called shingles (painful inflammation of the nerves)

Chickenpox is an "air and surface" attacker, the cough or sneeze of an infected person sends droplets into the air and onto surfaces where others then take in the virus through their mouth or nose, scratching the itchy blister may also send the virus into the air.

The most vulnerable people are those who were never vaccinated, pregnant women, aids and cancer patients.

Do not use aspirin-containing products to relieve fever in this case as it can affect liver and brain in children according to CDC.

To note that in Nov 2016 Guyana health authorities said that more than 100 cases of chicken pox have been recorded at a secondary school.

Parents need to ensure their child has recommended vaccinations and this has to be taken seriously since adults are at increased risk of complications if they get it, like severe pneumonia, brain inflammation, and bacterial skin infections.

If you think you never had chicken pox, regardless of your age see your doctor for advice.

Reporting by © ReinaSankari 2016

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