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Chickenpox Diagnosed at Upper Lake Middle School

There has been one healthcare-provider diagnosed case of chickenpox and one possible case (pending diagnosis) at Upper Lake Middle School. These two children were sent home from school with blister-like rash on 12/11/18 and 12/12/18, respectively. Lake County residents are urged to be alert for symptoms of chickenpox in their children. Please review the information below:

  • Incubation Period: Symptoms usually appear 14-16 days after exposure.
  • Common Signs and Symptoms: Rash that first appears on the trunk (stomach and back) and spreads to the face, arms and legs. The rash appears to be small water blisters. Your child may have a fever or stomachache for the few days before the rash appears.
  • In a day or two, the rash will form crusts that will remain for a few days. As the blisters spread, some will be healing as new ones appear. Your child needs to remain home until all the blisters are crusted over (they are contagious until that time).
  • Many children have received the chicken pox vaccine; however children who have been vaccinated may develop a milder case with only a few lesions and may not feel ill at all.
  • Treatment usually involves symptom relief with no specific medication. However, antiviral medications are recommended for people with chickenpox who are more likely to develop serious disease including:
    • otherwise healthy people older than 12 years of age
    • people with chronic skin or lung disease
    • people receiving steroid therapy
    • pregnant women

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “children who lack evidence of immunity and whose parents refuse vaccination should be excluded from school from the start of the outbreak through 21 days after rash onset of the last identified case.”

The CDC also states, “One dose of the varicella vaccine has been used successfully for outbreak prevention and control in school settings. A second dose is now recommended for outbreak control. Children who are vaccinated with a first or second dose during an outbreak may immediately return to school after vaccination.”

If your child attends Upper Lake Middle School and has not received varicella/chickenpox vaccine, your child should be vaccinated immediately. If you do not wish your child to be unvaccinated or your child cannot be vaccinated due to medical reasons, your child should be kept home from school for 21 days after rash onset of the last identified case of chickenpox.

  • Speak with your medical provider about the option of medication that can be given to prevent chickenpox.

Some people are more likely to have a serious case of chickenpox. Call a health care provider if

  1. the person at risk of serious complications:
    • is less than 1 year-old
    • is older than 12 years of age
    • has a weakened immune system
    • is pregnant, or
  2. develops any of the following symptoms:
    • fever that lasts longer than 4 days
    • fever that rises above 102°F (38.9°C)
    • any areas of the rash or any part of the body becomes very red, warm, or tender, or begins leaking pus (thick, discolored fluid), since these symptoms may indicate a bacterial infection
    • extreme illness
    • difficult waking up or confused demeanor
    • difficulty walking
    • stiff neck
    • frequent vomiting
    • difficulty breathing
    • severe cough
    • severe abdominal pain
    • rash with bleeding or bruising (hemorrhagic rash)

For any questions or to report a suspected case of chickenpox, please call the Public Health Department at (707) 263-1090.