CPS calls on community to be observant for chicken pox

GREAT BAY, St. Maarten – The Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a public health agency of the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, has been informed that there are a number of chicken pox (varicella) cases on the island of Saba, and is hereby advising the populace to be on the alert for the aforementioned.

At this point in time there are no reported cases of chicken pox on Sint Maarten.

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

Chickenpox spreads easily through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It can also spread by touching 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.

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.

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

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