Contagious disease confirmed at Ipswich region school

AN OUTBREAK of influenza has been followed by an outbreak of another highly contagious infection.

Parents with children at one school have been warned multiple cases of the Varicella infection, commonly known as the chicken pox, have been confirmed among students.

The Education Department would not confirm numbers, but said parents at Fernvale State School had been notified of the infection affecting its pupils.

According to Queensland Health figures, so far this year 256 cases of chicken pox have been confirmed in a laboratory.

Six of those were last week and 15 cases were confirmed in the week before, during mid-July.

The latest figures, 256 confirmed cases, are almost double the usual number for this time of year.

An Education Department spokesperson said the school had acted within the guidelines to ensure families were notified.

How infectious is chicken pox?

Chickenpox is spread through coughing, sneezing and direct contact with the fluid in the blisters of the rash.

The dry scabs are not infectious. Since shingles blisters also contain the virus, a person who has never had chickenpox can become infected with chickenpox from someone who has shingles.

An individual with chickenpox is infectious for about one to two days before the onset of the rash and until the blisters have all scabbed, usually four to five days.

The usual time between contact with the virus and developing the illness is about 14 to 16 days, although sometimes it can take longer.

Source: Queensland Health

Topics:  chicken pox

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