Friday, January 7, 2011
The first outbreak of chickenpox of the year infected five children at Hill Creek Elementary School in Santee, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency reported today.
One 10-year-old and four 8-year-olds came down with the disease. Three of the youngsters had the recommended two vaccinations, but one had only one shot and the fifth had none, according to HHSA.
"We want to remind residents that chickenpox is a preventable disease," said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county's public health officer. "By getting both doses of the vaccine, parents can help their children avoid
chickenpox or have a milder form of the disease."
Last year, there were four outbreaks of chickenpox involving 22 people, according to HHSA. In 2009, there were 10 outbreaks involving 69 cases.
The highly contagious virus is spread by coughing, sneezing or contact with blisters that form on a sick person's skin.
The incubation period after exposure is about two weeks, and the disease lasts about five days. There is a risk of complications in post-pubescent victims.