Chick­en­pox cases rise

In­fected stu­dents to stay home as more cases con­firmed

The Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - TARA MIKO tara.miko@thechron­i­ Jour­nal­ist

CHICK­EN­POX cases have been con­firmed at more Toowoomba schools and day­care cen­tres with stu­dents show­ing signs urged to stay home to stop the spread of the highly con­ta­gious dis­ease.

MORE Toowoomba schools and day­care cen­tres have con­firmed chick­en­pox cases with stu­dents show­ing signs urged to stay home.

It fol­lows an alert is­sued from Toowoomba State High School on Thurs­day of a case con­firmed at the cam­pus and ad­vice from the re­gion’s pub­lic health unit.

Par­ents re­ported the highly in­fec­tious dis­ease, which is com­mon in young chil­dren and stu­dents, at sev­eral schools in both the pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tor.

It is un­der­stood other schools with con­firmed cases in­clude Toowoomba East State School, St Mary’s, St Joseph’s Col­lege and St An­thony’s.

The Ed­u­ca­tion Depart­ment yes­ter­day was un­able to con­firm to The Chron­i­cle what schools in the pub­lic sec­tor had con­firmed cases of the highly in­fec­tious dis­ease.

Dar­ling Downs Pub­lic Health Unit di­rec­tor Dr Penny Hutchin­son said there had been “a lot” of no­ti­fi­ca­tions for the con­ta­gious dis­ease across the re­gion’s health net­work.

While chick­en­pox is a no­ti­fi­able dis­ease, the ex­act num­ber of con­firmed cases across the Dar­ling Downs Hospi­tal and Health Ser­vice was dif­fi­cult to quan­tify due to no­ti­fi­ca­tions of­ten not be­ing dis­tin­guished be­tween it and shin­gles.

“Most of­ten swabs are re­lated to shin­gles,” Dr Hutchin­son said.

“Chick­en­pox is a highly in­fec­tious dis­ease and there is a vac­cine (which) has been ef­fec­tive in re­duc­ing chick­en­pox.

“Chick­en­pox it­self can be spread by cough­ing and sneez­ing par­tic­u­larly in the early stages but if you come in con­tact with the liq­uid in the blis­ters you can trans­mit it as well.

“That’s what we see with things like shin­gles.

“It’s the same virus but lies dor­mant in the body.”

Dr Hutchin­son said shin­gles could be “very se­ri­ous” and dif­fered to the phys­i­cal signs of chick­en­pox.

A shin­gles case gen­er­ally caused a patch of skin to break out in blis­ters while chick­en­pox saw the rash and blis­ters spread to the whole body.

“Symp­to­matic treat­ment is what we do so any­thing to soothe the itch,” Dr Hutchin­son said.

“If stu­dents keep scratch­ing the tops off the blis­ters it can lead to spread­ing.”

Dr Hutchin­son said the dis­ease put preg­nant women at risk of foe­tus de­vel­op­ing ab­nor­mal­i­ties or con­tract­ing the dis­ease at birth.

Any­one with con­cerns should seek med­i­cal ad­vice from 13HEALTH or their gen­eral prac­ti­tioner.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.