Saturday, February 13, 2016

Wellsville High School confirms case of chickenpox

Dear Families,

This letter is to notify you that a student in our high school has contracted chickenpox.

Most children now are vaccinated with at least one dose of varicella vaccine, but because one dose of the vaccine is only 80-85% effective for preventing chickenpox, it is not unusual to see breakthrough disease. For that reason, two doses of the varicella vaccine are now routinely recommended for children.

Background   Chickenpox is a very contagious infection caused by a virus. It is spread from person to person by direct contact or through the air from an infected person’s coughing or sneezing. It causes a blister-like rash, itching, tiredness, and fever lasting an average of 4 to 10 days. Most children recover without any problems.

Chickenpox can be spread for 1-2 days before the rash starts and until all blisters are crusted or no new lesions appear within a 24-hour period. Chickenpox in vaccinated persons is generally mild, with a short duration of illness and fewer than 50 lesions. The rash may be atypical with red bumps and few or no blisters.

What should you do?  We strongly encourage you to have your children receive their first dose of the varicella vaccine if they had none in the past and had never had the chickenpox, or the second dose if they only received one dose previously.

If your child or anyone in your household currently has symptoms that look like chickenpox: Contact your regular health care provider to discuss your child’s symptoms and to see if anyone in the home needs to be vaccinated.

No further vaccinations are recommended if your child had received 2 doses of the chickenpox vaccine or has contracted the chickenpox in the past.

If you or anyone else in your household has a weakened immune system or is pregnant and has never had chickenpox or the vaccine, talk with your doctor immediately.

Please contact the school nurse to report your child’s chickenpox.

Kimberly Mueller
Wellsville Central School District