Nine school- and preschool-aged children have confirmed cases of varicella (chickenpox) on Lopez, Orcas and Shaw islands, with additional possible cases awaiting evaluation from health care providers within the county.
Schools have been alerted of the current outbreak. Parents are encouraged to check their child’s vaccination status and ensure their children are fully immunized against the chickenpox virus (two doses). Symptoms of chickenpox include fever, fatigue and a rash that progresses from the head to other parts of the body.
If you or your child has symptoms of chickenpox, please seek medical attention (call first) and remain at home until the rash is completely gone and all the blisters are dried. This means not attending/participating in sporting events, traveling on the ferry (unless staying in your car), or going into other community gathering places, such as libraries, stores or community centers where others may be exposed during your illness.
San Juan County Health and Community Services Dept strongly recommend against intentionally exposing any child to chickenpox. First, because one cannot count on the disease running a mild course; the child symptoms could become more severe than intended. Second, the exposed child can infect other individuals during the incubation period, particularly vulnerable individuals (infants, pregnant women, and people with compromised immune systems) for whom the course of illness can become more serious including possible hospitalization, and in rare cases even death.
Additional information and resources on varicella, and how to check your child’s immunization status, may be found on the San Juan County Health & Community Services website: http://sanjuanco.com/420/Immunizations