CPS calls on community to be observant for chicken pox

Minister of Health, Social Affairs and Labour Emil Lee


GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – The Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a public health agency of the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, has observed based on its communicable diseases surveillance system during the last weeks of 2017 has registered at least four cases of suspected chicken pox (varicella) cases in the country in adults as well as young children under the age of five, and is therefore, advising the populace to be active in minimizing the spread of this particular medical conditions.

Chickenpox is usually a mild disease in children. But the itching can be very uncomfortable.

Chickenpox spreads easily through airborne droplets, when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It can also spread by touching/making contact with the fluid from blisters.

Susceptible persons are 80 to 90 per cent at risk of getting the disease once exposed to it. Chicken pox is a disease caused by infection with the varicella zoster virus, which causes fever and an itchy rash.

Not all infected individuals have fever, which develops just before or when the rash appears.

Symptoms can include a skin rash of blister-like lesions, covering the body but usually more concentrated on the face, scalp, and trunk.

The patient is infectious from the onset of symptoms until all spots have gone.  One attack usually confers life-long immunity, although the virus may reactivate at a later date and cause shingles.

Children with chickenpox usually must miss school or child care for at least a week to avoid spreading the virus to others. Considering it is airborne use take hand cough preventive measures and disinfect/sanitize surroundings.

In most cases chicken pox is not a serious health threat but life-threatening complications can occur and include the following:

  • Bacterial infection of the skin and tissues under the skin (including group A streptococcal infections)
  • Dehydration (loss of body fluids) from vomiting or diarrhea
  • Pneumonia (lung infection)
  • Encephalitis (brain swelling). Most cases are mild, but some can be deadly.

No one can predict who will get serious complications from the disease.

Consult your family doctor in case you suspect your child to have chicken pox.