Division of Community and Public Health
Section: 4.0 Diseases and Conditions
Subsection: Chickenpox / Shingles
Page 15 of 15
This letter is to notify you that some children at the Kingsville R-1 School District may have contracted varicella (chickenpox). Chickenpox is an acute illness characterized by an itchy rash of blisters, fever, headache, and feeling tired. Most children are vaccinated with at least one dose of varicella vaccine, but because one dose of the vaccine is only 80-85% effective for preventing chickenpox, two doses of varicella vaccine are routinely recommended for children.
Chickenpox is a very contagious infection caused by a virus. It is spread from person to person by direct contact through touching an infected person’s blisters 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 4-6 days. Most children recover without any problems. Chickenpox can be spread for 1-2 days before the rash starts and until all blisters are crusted or no new lesions appear within a 24-hour period. It takes between 10-21 days after contact 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. To learn more about chickenpox, see the attached fact sheet or visit http://www.cdc.gov/chickenpox/index.html.
What should you do?
The Johnson County Health Department strongly encourages you to have your child receive their first or second dose of varicella vaccine if your child has not been vaccinated and has never had chickenpox. For children who have received one dose, a second dose is recommended.
If your child or anyone in your household currently has symptoms that look like chickenpox:
1. Contact your regular health care provider to discuss your child's symptoms and to see if anyone in the home needs to be vaccinated.
2. Contact the school nurse to report your child's chickenpox.
3. 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, day care, work, parties and/or other gatherings until the blisters become crusted (about four to six days after rash appears), or no new lesions appear within a 24-hour period. Keep all chickenpox spots and blisters and other wounds clean and watch for possible signs of infection; including increasing redness, swelling, drainage and pain at the wound site.
4. If you or anyone else in your household has a weakened immune system or is pregnant and has never had chickenpox or the vaccine, talk with your doctor immediately.
Controlling the Outbreak
It is now recommended that children with one dose of varicella vaccine receive a second dose routinely. If your child does develop chickenpox, he/she should be kept from attending school until the rash has crusted over.
If you have any further questions or concerns, you can contact Nurse Anna Wright at 816-597-3422.