Chickenpox Outbreak In Pitt County

The superbug staph infection MRSA has been in the news quite often in recent weeks. Now, a more familiar disease is making headlines: chickenpox.

Pitt County officials announced a chickenpox outbreak on Wednesday. The Pitt County Health Department says they've been notified that several children in the area have been diagnosed with Varicella, better known as chickenpox.

Health officials warn that chickenpox is highly contagious. The disease can spread by from person to person through air by breathing, coughing, and sneezing.

While many people can handle the disease, it can be deadly for others.

Here is the full press release from Pitt County on the chickenpox outbreak, including free vaccination clinics on November 8, 9 and 10.

Pitt County, NC - Pitt County Health Department was recently notified that several school-aged students within Pitt County have been diagnosed with Varicella (Chickenpox). Chickenpox is a highly contagious disease that is spread from person to person through air by breathing, coughing, and sneezing. It is also spread through contact with the fluid that comes from chickenpox blisters. Although chickenpox is often a mild disease among healthy children, it can be very serious among infants, adolescents, adults, pregnant women, and those with weakened immune systems due to illness or use of certain medications. High-risk persons who get the disease may experience hospitalization and even death.

Signs of chickenpox may include:
-Rash (blisters) that covers the body (mainly on the head, face and trunk)

It usually takes about 2-3 weeks before a person exposed to chickenpox becomes sick. Persons are usually sick from 5-10 days and are usually contagious 1-2 days before a rash appears and until 4-5 days after onset of a rash or until blisters have crusted over. Persons who have symptoms of chickenpox should stay home from school, work, and community events until their fever is gone and all blisters have crusted over.

Populations at Highest Risk of Developing Complications from the Disease:

-Pregnant Women
-Adolescents and Adults
-Persons with weakened immune systems

Persons who have not been sick with chickenpox in the past or who have not been adequately vaccinated may be susceptible to the disease. Persons who are susceptible to the disease should stay away from those who are infected and from persons who are most likely to experience complications if they get the disease.

Recommended Vaccinations:
Two doses of the vaccine are recommended for persons ages 12 months – adult. Persons can be vaccinated at their private doctor’s office or at the health department. Pregnant women cannot be vaccinated, but should contact their obstetrical doctor immediately if they are susceptible and have been exposed to an infected person.

Pitt County Health Department Free Vaccination Clinics:
Free vaccination clinics for persons up to 19 years of age will be held at Pitt County Health Department located at 201 Government Circle, Greenville, NC as follows:
Thursday, November 6, 3 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Friday, November 7, 3 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Saturday, November 8, 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.

No appointments are needed for the health department clinics. For more information about these clinics, call 902-2305.

For more information, contact Amy Hattem at (252) 902-2424.

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