Chickenpox – New Zealand
The Auckland Regional Public Health Service, New Zealand reported a handful of cases of chickenpox in the city of Auckland.
No information regarding the circumstances of infection was given, as the local authorities do not need to be notified of chickenpox outbreaks. Generally, the incubation period is between 3 to 10 days and symptoms include tiredness, lead to a fever and general aches and pains. Typical for chickenpox are small and itchy blisters on the skin.
The government advises people exposed to avoid close contact and to stay at home. Children and Infants are eligible to receive a chickenpox vaccine.
Photo: Electron micrograph of a Human alphaherpesvirus 3 virus, also known as varicella-zoster virus.
Chickenpox, also known as varicella, is a highly contagious disease caused by infection with varicella zoster virus. Chickenpox occurs in all parts of the world.
The disease results in a characteristic skin rash that forms small, itchy blisters, which eventually scab over. Initially on the chest, back, and face. Later it then spreads to the rest of the body. Other symptoms are flu like with fever and tiredness.
Complications may occasionally occur and include pneumonia, inflammation of the brain, and bacterial skin infections. The disease is often more severe in adults than in children.
Chickenpox is an airborne disease which spreads easily from one person to the next through the coughs and sneezes of an infected person. It may even be spread from one to two days before the rash appears. People usually only get chickenpox once.
A vaccine is recommended in many countries for children and protects about 70 to 90 percent of people from disease with a good protection for severe disease. Some parents deliberately expose their children to the virus, by taking them to chickenpox parties. Getting the vaccine is much safer, since it is a weakened form of the virus. An actual chickenpox infection can be fatal.
How the term chickenpox originated is not clear but it may be due the rash resembling chicken pecks or the idea that the disease may have originated in chickens.
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