Keep kids with chickenpox home, public health asks

| 29/09/2011

(CNS): With confirmed clusters of chickenpox cases in two schools in the past week, Public Health officials are asking parents to keep sick children home to stop a further spread. Children in the Cayman Islands are generally immunized against chickenpox at the age of twelve months. However, the General Practice Clinic, at the George Town hospital will be offering the vaccine on Saturday, 1 October, between 9:00am and 3:00pm (no appointments necessary) and parents can have their children immunized at any district Health Centre or Public Health Clinic. People suffering from chickenpox get a skin rash of blister-like lesions, covering the body but usually more concentrated on the face, scalp, and trunk, and may also have a fever.

It is spread from person toperson by direct contact with cough and sneeze droplets (highly contagious), and by contact with the virus from skin lesions. If exposed, a person who has been vaccinated against the disease may get a milder illness, with less severe rash (sometimes involving only a few red bumps that look similar to insect bites) and mild or no fever.
“We are monitoring the disease and our school nurses are in regular contact with schools so the affected children can be kept home until the lesions are crusted, which usually occurs in 5-7 days time,” said Medical Officer of Health, Dr Kiran Kumar. “We also met the school authorities and organized to offer vaccination at the affected schools. School authorities will be communicating this to the parents to get their unimmunized children vaccinated or to get a booster dose if they wish,” he added.

The chickenpox vaccine has been part of the local immunization schedule since 2000, and children in the Cayman Islands are generally immunized against chickenpox at the age of twelve months.

“The public need not be alarmed as about 75 – 100 cases are reported annually in the Cayman Islands with fluctuations. As of this month, there have already been 52 reported cases with half of them in children under the age of 15. This is a sharp rise from last year’s total of 29 cases but still far less than the 104 cases reported for 2009.

“There will be many more unreported cases. People who had chickenpox already will have natural immunization. However, for persons who have not had chickenpox, we recommend that you get vaccinated,” Dr Kumar noted.  

Vaccinations are available at the General Practice Clinic, at the Cayman Islands Hospital on Saturday 1 October, 2011 between 9:00 am and 3:00pm (no appointments necessary). As usual, parents can have their children immunized at any district Health Centre or Public Health Clinic.

For more information, contact the Public Health Department on 244–2648.

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  1. Franklin says:

    Is it true that you cannot get this virus again if you have already had this virus?

    And what is the cure for this virus ?

    • Anonymous says:

      There is no cure for this, or any other, viral disease.  Not chicken pox, herpes, HIV, flu, cold or any other virus. There are treatments to help reduce symptoms but  your body's immune system must fight it off.  

      Vaccinations can prime your body to be ready to fight a disease before your actually are exposed to the virus. This may allow you to avoid or sharply reduce the effects of the virus.

      If you previously contracted the disease it is rare to get it again. If your immune system is compromised or the virus has substantially mutated then you could, in theory, fall ill once again.

    • Anonymous says:

      this is not true. you can get it over and over and over. i knew a boy how got it 3x and lady 2x. so you can get it countless amount of times.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Vaccination won't prevent, trust me I learned first hand when my kid caught it in preschool and gave it me even though I was vaccinated!

    If you can, get your GP to prescribe valtrex (yes its for herpes but chicken pox is related to herpes)  It made my bout with the pox far less severe I only got about 5 pox total and fever.

    If you do get a full blown attack Aveeno products are best because they have oatmeal which is great for itch!  Old fashioned callomine didnt really help my kid, except to take her mind off it cuz its pink!!



  3. Dare to Dream says:

    Just a little tid-bit on chicken pox.  I contracted chicken pox about 5 years ago at the age of 61.  I went through it in the family and schools when I was growing up did not get it but when I did at 61 it  was horrible.  The only thing that helped me was I filled up the tub with warm water, pour in some oatmeal and went layed in water for about half an hour.  My granddaughter had it last year and we used the aveeno products on her and that really help her.

  4. Anonymous says:

    The person with chicken pox should bath in water with 4 table spoons of bicarbinate of soda in a quarter bath of water. Whilst not a cure, it seems to help the itching and dries up the spots.

  5. Annoymous says:

    Its all of them there wild chickens causing it.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Which schools please?

  7. Anonymous says:

    How the times have changed… when I was in year 1 a girl in my class got chicken pox and all of the parents were fine with everyone else catching it so we could get it over with. Once we were all rashed up the entire class was cancelled until we were all better and I bet the teacher enjoyed the time off!

    I was also encouraged to sneeze on my sister so my parents could deal with us having chicken pox at the same time (I LOVED that part). I remember being awfully itchy and uncomfortable and hating the pink chamomile lotion. We would slather up and sit in the tub in our underwear with socks on our hands so we wouldn't scratch.

    Not saying the disease isn't terrible and uncomfortable and potentially dangerous (especially for older persons) and that we shouldn't take advantage of vaccinations and limit the spread… just saying times have really changed. We should all be grateful for the medical advancements and recognise how far we have come in just a few decades. But I'll still look back nostalgicly on my own childhood in many strange ways 🙂

  8. Anonymous says:

    That's such a nasty looking picture!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Don't the schools require proof of vaccination?

    • Anonymous says:

      Vaccination doesn't prevent someone from catching and spreading chicken pox, but if they do catch it after vaccination, they tend to be less severely effected as a general rule.

      • Anonymous says:

         From the 'Fact Sheet'

        Methods of preventing and controlling chickenpox:

        •    Varicella (chicken pox) vaccine can prevent this disease. Currently, a single dose is given at 12 months as per immunization schedule.

        • Anonymous says:

          Hate to tell you this but the fact sheet is wrong.  Some of the children currently infected with chicken pox were vaccinated as babies but they caught it all the same.

        • Anonymous says:

          Look up shingles or herpes zoster. You CAN get chicken pox more than once, the vaccine is NOT a guarantee.

          • Anonymous says:

            Actually Shingles is what older people get when they have been exposed to chicken pox when they are younger.  My father had shingles and that prompted me to go get my kids vaccinated.  I would never want anyone to go through what my father went through.


            • Anonymous says:

              One can also contract chicken pox from being exposed to shingles.  A family member in their 40's took care of another family member who had the shingles.  Approximately a week later they came down with a very mild case of chicken pox.  All 3 of their children subsequently came down with much more severe cases of the chicken pox.  It's now been some 30 years but none of these persons ever came down with shingles.  Keeping fingers crossed though.