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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.

  • 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
October 2018

Key Points: 50 cases, 1 outbreak, <1 year olds have highest incidence, 58% cases not up to date/unknown immunizations

The number of varicella cases reported in October decreased from last month and was similar to the previous 5-year average. In general, more varicella cases are reported during the late winter and summer months.

This image is described in the paragraph above.

From January 1, 2018 through October 31, 2018, 665 varicella cases were reported in 50 counties. The number of cases as of October 31st in previous years are marked by the white bars for 2013-2017. The annual number of reported varicella cases decreased from 2015 to 2017. Thus far in 2018, case counts are slightly above the total number of cases last year.

In October, 8 (16%) of 50 total cases were associated with transmission within households and 4 (8%) cases were outbreak 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 shows that 8 cases were associated with transmission within households and 4 cases were associated with outbreaks out of a total of 50 cases in October. In the previous 3 months, 10 cases were associated with transmission within households and 5 cases were associated with outbreaks out of a total of 69 cases.

The 50 varicella cases in October were reported among the 21 counties outlined in black. During the previous 3 months (July through September), the average county rate varied throughout the state.

50 varicella cases in October were reported in 21 counties: Escambia, Santa Rosa, Duval, Clay, St. Johns, Volusia, Orange, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee, Hardee, Polk, Osceola, DeSoto, St. Lucie, Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, Citris, Alachua and Monroe. This map also shows the previous 3-month average pertussis rates per 100,000 population. Counties with a rate of 0.1-0.4 per 100,000 population are: Miami-Dade, Palm beach, St. Lucie, Lee, Pinellas, Orange, Alachua, Clay, Duval, Escambia Okaloosa Bay, Leon, Marion, Lake, Brevard, Hernando, Pasco, Sarasota, Highlands, Hendry, Collier. Counties with a rate of 0.5-1.2 per 100,000 population are: St. Johns, Volusia, Citrus, Hillsborough, Manatee, Hardee, Polk, Osceola, Broward, Martin, Baker, Columbia, Suwannee. Counties with a rate of 1.3-11.4 per 100,000 population are: Jefferson This image contains a summary of the total number of varicella cases reported from 2013 through 2017, and 2018 to date. 660 cases in 2013; 567 cases in 2014; 741 cases in 2015; 733 cases in 2016; 656 cases in 2017; 665 cases in 2018 to date.

One varicella outbreak was reported in October. This outbreak was reported in a school in Manatee county and to date, consists of 4 cases.

Seven total varicella outbreaks reported in 2018, all of which occurred in schools (3 outbreaks) or correctional facilities (4 outbreaks).

For more information please read the full summary.

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