By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

Officials with the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) are reporting chickenpox cases and together with Ottawa Public Health we are declaring it an outbreak.

CHEO says a child contracted chickenpox in the community and was admitted to CHEO for other reasons, then developed a rash. Two other children were subsequently infected.  

A number of varicella, or chickenpox lesions on the face of a young child/CDC

All safety precautions are in place. The cases are contained and the risk of transmission is extremely low. 

Chickenpox (varicella) 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.

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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.

The chickenpox vaccine is the best way to prevent becoming ill and spreading the varicella virus. It is very safe and prevents almost all cases of severe illness.