Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Carl Kanefsky, Communications Director
(302) 540-4979, Pager
Date: April 20, 2010
Delaware's Division of Public Health (DPH) advises families that at least five cases of chickenpox (Varicella) have been confirmed in the Delmar Middle and Delmar High Schools. A child diagnosed with chickenpox April 17 brings the total number to five cases, meeting the official definition of a chickenpox outbreak. All students diagnosed with chickenpox have recovered or remain at home to reduce the spread of this illness. DPH is working with school officials to monitor the cases and prevent spread of the illness.
Chickenpox is generally not a serious disease and there is no specific treatment. Chickenpox is spread through exposure to infected fluids from the nose, throat, or skin rash of someone with the chickenpox. This can occur by sharing breathing space, by directly touching the infected fluids, or from contact with soiled clothing or articles. Parents should look out for symptoms that include aches, fever, fatigue, irritability, sore throat and an itching, blistering rash. The itching from chickenpox can be controlled by cool baths, dabbing the spots with calamine lotion, and avoiding spicy, acidic or hard crunchy foods that may irritate mouth sores. Aspirin should never be given to children with chickenpox who are less than 19 years of age. Recovery time is usually between five to ten days, or when the rash has scabbed over. Complications of severe cases may include secondary bacterial infections, dehydration, pneumonia, central nervous system problems and even death.
Children can be vaccinated for chickenpox usually between the ages of 12 to 15 months. A booster shot is recommended at 4 to 6 years of age for further protection. People age 13 years and older who have never had chickenpox or received the chickenpox vaccine receive two doses of the vaccine at least 28 days apart. The chickenpox vaccine is very effective, with eight to nine of every 10 people vaccinated becoming completely protected.
For more information, go to at www.dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/files/chickenpfaq.pdf
Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.