Chickenpox outbreak at Carlsbad school - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Chickenpox outbreak at Carlsbad school

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CARLSBAD (CNS) - San Diego County health officials are urging residents to get their children vaccinated against chickenpox following an outbreak in Carlsbad of the highly contagious disease.

The county of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency said two 5-year-olds and three 6-year-olds, plus an adult, fell ill at Aviara Oaks Elementary School. One child had been vaccinated, but no one else had received been immunized, according to the agency.

"Chickenpox is a preventable disease," said Dr. Eric McDonald, the county deputy public health officer. "By having their children immunized with the recommended two doses of the vaccine, parents can help their children avoid chickenpox and prevent it from spreading to others."

Students and employees at the school were being notified of the outbreak, as were their counterparts at Aviara Oaks Middle School, which shares grounds and facilities, according to the HHSA.

Chickenpox, which is caused by the varicella virus, is easily spread by coughing, sneezing or being in contact with chickenpox blisters.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that children be vaccinated at 12-15 months of age and receive a second dose at 4-6 years.

Symptoms of chickenpox include a skin rash of blister-like lesions, covering the body but usually more concentrated on the face, scalp, and trunk. The risk of complications increases after puberty and includes bacterial infection of skin lesions, dehydration and pneumonia.

Most, but not all, infected individuals have a fever, which develops just before or when the rash appears. If exposed, persons who have been vaccinated against the disease may get a milder illness, with less severe rash and mild or no fever.

The incubation period is generally from 14-16 days from exposure, with a range of 10-21 days. The illness lasts about 5-10 days.

More information on chickenpox and immunizations in general is available at sdiz.org or by calling the HHSA Immunization Branch at (866) 358-2966.

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