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Public Health Message for WSC Community (Updated September 22, 2008)

 

The Wayne State Crisis Management Team met Monday (Sept. 22) morning to discuss the case of chickenpox at the college.

 

The infected student has been quarantined and will remain in isolation for five to seven days. No new cases have been reported at this time. The college will notify the community if new cases are diagnosed. The incubation period for the virus is 10 to 21 days.

 

For questions about chickenpox and immunizations, please visit the Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site at: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/varicella/default.htm or contact your physician.

 

Saturday, September 20, 2008

 

To: Wayne State College Community

From: WSC Student Health and the Northeast Nebraska Public Health Department

 

This letter is to notify you that someone at WSC has contracted chickenpox, also known as varicella. Chickenpox causes an acute illness with a rash that results in missing days at school or work. Most people now are vaccinated with at least one dose of varicella vaccine but because one dose of varicella vaccine is 80-85% effective for preventing chickenpox, it is not unusual to see breakthrough disease. Two doses of varicella vaccine are now routinely recommended.

 

Background

Chickenpox is a very contagious infection caused by a virus. It is spread from person to person by direct contract 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 6 days. Most recover without any problems. Chickenpox can be spread for 1 to 2 days before the rash starts and until all blisters are crusted or no new lesions appear within a 24-hour period. It takes between 10 and 21 days after contract with an infected person for someone to develop chickenpox. Chickenpox in vaccinated persons is generally mild, with a shorter 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?

The Northeast Nebraska Public Health Department and the Wayne State College Nurse strongly encourage you to be certain that you have had your two doses of varicella vaccine.

 

Anyone who has chickenpox should avoid contact with others who have not had chickenpox or who are not vaccinated against chickenpox. They should not attend school, work, parties and or other gatherings until the blisters become crusted

 

If you display any symptoms that look like chickenpox, contact Connie at the WSC Student Health Office at 375-7470 or the Northeast Nebraska Public Health Department’s Public Health Nurse (Julie) at 375-2200.

 

If you have a weakened immune system or are pregnant and have not been vaccinated or had chickenpox, contact your doctor immediately.

 

Controlling the Outbreak The Northeast Nebraska Public Health Department and the Wayne State College Student Health Office are working with the college to implement prevention strategies. Please cooperate with the guidelines in this memo.

 

Thank you for your cooperation.

 

 

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