By NewsDesk @bactiman63
France is reporting an epidemic of varicella, or chickenpox infections, according to a recent Bulletin du réseau Sentinelles (computer translated), which includes at least twelve regional outbreaks.
Approximately half the country was affected by chickenpox in the week ending June 9. On average, there are 34 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
The most affected regions are Pays de la Loire, Ile-de-France, Grand Est and Hauts-de-France, according to the report.
Chickenpox is easily passed from one person to another through the air by coughing or sneezing or through the fluid from a blister of a person who has chickenpox. Although it is usually not a serious illness, it often causes children and their parents to miss days at school and work. Most cases of chickenpox in healthy children are treated with bed rest, fluids, and fever control.
Chickenpox can be more severe and cause more complications in immunocompromised persons, children younger than 1 year of age and adults. Severe complications include bacterial skin infections, bloodstream infections, pneumonia, encephalitis (infection of the brain) and death. It is important to be aware that even healthy children and adults may develop serious complications and die from varicella. Another high-risk group is pregnant women who, if they become ill with varicella, can have pregnancy complications. Not only is chickenpox painful, but once you have been infected with chickenpox, you are at risk of getting shingles later in life, which is also very painful and can cause lasting chronic pain in adults.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, chickenpox is particularly dangerous to infants, pregnant women those with compromised immune systems, such as people who are HIV positive or coming out of cancer treatment.
It takes from 10-21 days to develop symptoms after being exposed to a person with chickenpox. Most symptoms appear after 14-16 days. Someone with chickenpox is contagious for 1 to 2 days before the rash starts. They will be contagious until all the blisters have formed scabs, usually 4 to 7 days after the rash began. A person who has never had chickenpox or the chickenpox vaccine should get the vaccine as soon as possible after being exposed (ideally, within three days). The vaccine may prevent illness or prevent the disease from being as serious if given within this time frame. Receiving the vaccination may also prevent future illness from chickenpox.