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Varicella (Chickenpox)

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Chickenpox is a very contagious disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV). It causes a blister-like rash, itching, tiredness, and fever. The rash appears first on the stomach, back and face and can spread over the entire body causing between 250 and 500 itchy blisters. Chickenpox can be serious, especially in babies, adults, and people with weakened immune systems. The best way to prevent chickenpox is to get the chickenpox vaccine.

Guidelines and recommendations for clinicians for varicella laboratory testing

  • Symptoms
  • Transmission
  • Prevention

Symptoms include:

  • Blister-like rash
  • Fever that lasts about 4 to 6 days
  • Itching
  • Tiredness

Certain groups of people are more likely to have more severe illness with serious complications. These include adult, infants, adolescents, pregnant women, and people have a weakened immune system. If anyone develops symptoms that look like chickenpox, contact your health care provider.

It is spread from person to person by direct contact or through the air from an infected person’s coughing and sneezing. Chickenpox can be spread for 1-2 days before rash starts and until all blisters are crusted or no new lesions appear within a 24-hour period. It takes between 10-21 days after contact with an infected person for someone to develop chickenpox.  

If I have been vaccinated, can I still get chickenpox?
Yes. About 15%–20% of people who have received one dose of chickenpox vaccine do still get chickenpox if they are exposed, but their disease is usually mild.   Two doses of varicella vaccine are now routinely recommended. The first dose can be given at 12 months of age and the second dose between 4-6 years of age.

Varicella Surveillance
February 2019

February Key Points: 68 cases, 0 outbreaks, <1 year olds have highest incidence, 66% cases not up to date or unknown immunizations

The number of varicella cases reportedin February decreased from last month and was slightly below theprevious 5-year average. In general, more varicella cases are reported during the late winter and summer months.

This image contains a summary of varicella cases reported by month in 2018 as compared to the previous 5-year average. In February 2019, 68 cases of varicella were reported, which is slightly below the previous 5-year average.

From January 1, 2019 through February 28, 2019,153 varicella caseswere reported in 28 counties.

The annual number of reported varicella cases decreased from 2015 to 2017. Case counts in February 2019 are similar to those seen in February of previous years, as noted by the white bar in the figure.

In February,16 (24%)of68 total caseswere associated withtransmission within householdsand no cases wereoutbreak associated.cases wereoutbreak associated. For most varicella cases, exposure to other known cases is never identified, and they are not able to be linked to outbreaks.

This image contains a bar graph of total cases compared to household associated cases and outbreak associated cases for February 2019 and the previous 3-month average.

The 68 varicella cases in February were reported among the 21 counties outlined in black. From December 2018 through February 2019 the average county rate varied throughout the state.

This map shows the Hepatitis A rates per 100,000 population from January 2018 through February 2019. Counties with one or more cases reported in February are: Alachua, Bay, Brevard, Broward, Citrus, Clay, Miami-Dade, DeSoto, Duval, Flagler, Hernando, Hillsborough, Jackson, Lake, Lee, Leon, Manatee, Marion, Martin, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, St. Johns, St. Lucie, Santa Rosa, Seminole Volusis  Counties with a rate of 0.1-4.3 per 100,000 population are: Alachua, Bay, Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Citrus, Clay, Collier, Miami-Dade, Duval, Flagler, Jackson, Lee, Leon, Manatee, Martin, Monroe, Osceola, Palm Beach, St. Johns, St. Lucie, Sarasota, Volusia, Walton  Counties with a rate of 4.4-11.4 per 100,000 population are:  DeSoto, Franklin, Hernando, Hillsborough, Lake, Marion, Okaloosa, Okeechobee, Orange, Seminole  Counties with a rate of 11.5-28.4 per 100,000 population are: Pasco, PinellasThis image contains a summary of the total number of hepatitis A cases reported from 2013 through 2019. In total for each year there have been: 133 in 2013; 106 in 2014; 123 in 2015; 122 in 2016; 276 in 2017; 547 in 2018; and 424 in 2019.

No varicella outbreaks were reported in February.

So far in 2019, no new varicella outbreaks have been reported.

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