5 PB Students Diagnosed With Chickenpox

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Five students have been diagnosed with chickenpox at a Pacific Beach elementary school, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency reported Friday.

The cases at Kate Sessions Elementary are unrelated to the two previous outbreaks reported last week.

The first case was reported on March 29, and the latest student to be diagnosed became ill on May 4. Chickenpox symptoms usually appear 14 to 16 days after exposure, with a range of 10 to 21 days, so additional cases may be reported through May 25.

The children range from five to ten years old. None of the children were immunized and three of them are siblings.

“The best way to prevent chickenpox is to get both doses of the varicella vaccine,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “The vaccine is very safe and effective. Not only does it protect the person who is being vaccinated, making sure your family is immunized helps protect your loved ones, those who are unable to get the shot due to underlying medical conditions and others in the community.”

There have been 31 cases of chickenpox reported in San Diego County so far in 2016. Chickenpox is not reportable to the County Public Health Department unless it occurs in an outbreak or results in a hospitalization or death.

Chickenpox is a highly contagious and easily spread by coughing, sneezing or being in contact with chickenpox blisters.

Symptoms include skin rash of blister-like lesions, concentrated on the face and scalp and fever.

The risk of complications increases after puberty possibly leading to bacterial infection, dehydration and pneumonia.

Even if vaccinated, a person can get a milder case that lasts about five to 10 days.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends two doses of chickenpox vaccine. Children should be vaccinated at 12 to 15 months and receive the second dose at 4 to 6 years old.

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