Alert: Chickenpox Identified on Island

Tuesday, 2April 2024– The Ministry of Health and Social Services is issuing a public health advisory in response to a recent increase in cases of chickenpox on island.

Chickenpox is a highly contagious viral infection caused by the Varicella-Zoster virus which typically manifests with symptoms to include fever, “flu-like” symptoms, fatigue and an itchy rash of blister-like bumps covering the body.

Children are generally most affected by chickenpox; however, adults can also contract the virus.  

Chickenpox is usually a mild illness in healthy children and healthy adults with most persons recovering in seven (7) to fourteen (14) days. However, certain populations such as infants, pregnant women, the elderly and individuals with weakened immune systems are at risk of severe complications such as bacterial infections of the skin, infection of the lungs and brain, bleeding problems, bloodstream infections and dehydration.

The notable uptick in confirmed cases of chickenpox over the past seven (7) days and the risk to the most vulnerable highlight importance of remaining vigilant and taking proactive measures to prevent the spread of the virus within our community.

In light of this, Ministry of Health Officials advise residents to:

Practice Good Hygiene: Regular handwashing with soap and water, especially after coughing, sneezing, or caring for individuals with chickenpox, can help prevent the spread of the virus. Residents should also avoid touching the face with unwashed hands.

Isolate Affected Individuals: Individuals diagnosed with chickenpox should remain at home and avoid contact with others until fully recovered.

Seek Medical Attention: Anyone experiencing symptoms suggestive of chickenpox should promptly seek medical attention at a Health Centre or private medical facility. Early diagnosis and appropriate medical management can help alleviate symptoms and reduce the risk of complications.

In the event of severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing, severe headache, dizziness and confusion, persons should immediately seek medical attention at the Casualty Department of the Glendon Hospital.

Together, by taking proactive steps and adhering to recommended guidelines, we can mitigate the impact of chickenpox and safeguard the health of our community.

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