NEWS from New York State Department of Health

Posted 2016-02-11 10:32:00

February 10, 2016

Dear parents/guardians,

This letter is to notify you that New York State Department of Health has recently reported sporadic cases of chickenpox throughout the state with one case confirmed in Essex County

 Most children now are vaccinated with at least one dose of varicella vaccine, but because one dose of the vaccine is 80-85% effective for preventing chickenpox, it is not unusual to see a breakthrough disease.  Two doses of varicella vaccine are now routinely recommended for children.

Chickenpox is a very contagious infection caused by a virus.  It is spread from person to person by direct contact or through the air from an infected person’s coughing or sneezing.  It causes a blister-like rash, itching, tiredness, and fever lasting an average of 4 to 6 days.  Most children recover without any problems, Chickenpox can spread for 1-2 days before the rash starts and continue to spread until blisters are crusted or no new lesions appear within a 24-hour period.  It takes between 10-21 days after contact with an infected person for someone to develop chickenpox.  Chickenpox in vaccinated persons is generally mild, with a shorter duration of illness and fewer than 50 lesions.  The rash may be atypical with red bumps and few or no blisters.

Essex County Public Health Department is working to implement prevention strategies, and strongly encourages you to have your child receive their first dose of varicella vaccine, if your child has not been vaccinated and has never had chickenpox.  For children who have received one dose, a second dose is recommended. 

If your child or anyone in your household currently has symptoms that look like chickenpox, please contact your health care provider.  

If you have questions regarding chickenpox or vaccination you may call Essex County Public Health at 873-3500 or refer to NYSDOH.