Chicken Pox Information

15 November 2017
Chicken Pox Information

A reminder to all parents and the wider community to be extra vigilant for any signs and symptoms of your child feeling unwell: Chicken pox (varicella) is usually communicable for one to two days before the onset of rash (during the runny nose phase) up to five days (continuing until all the blisters are crusted).

Exclusion

  • Cases of chickenpox in primary schools and children’s services centres must be excluded until all blisters have dried. This is usually at least five days after the rash appears in unimmunised children, but may be less in previously immunised children. Note that some remaining scabs are not a reason for continued exclusion. Cases in secondary school are recommended to be excluded as above, but there is no statutory exclusion.

  • Under the Public Health and Wellbeing Regulations 2009, any child contact with an immune deficiency (for example, leukaemia) or receiving chemotherapy should be excluded from school or children’s services centre for their own protection. Otherwise contacts are not excluded.

Information

  • All parents and staff should be alert to the potential for exposed (especially unimmunised) children to develop illness 2-3 weeks following exposure and to exclude them at first sign of illness.

  • Pregnant or immunocompromised staff who could have been in close contact with the cases should seek advice from their GP.

Vaccination

  • In outbreak settings (2 cases within 21 days at the school), if varicella vaccine is not contraindicated, it can be offered to non-immune age-eligible children and adults who have a significant exposure to chickenpox (varicella) and wish to be protected against primary infection. Vaccination has the added benefit of reducing the likelihood of chickenpox infection, particularly moderate to severe disease, following exposure, and also provides long-term protection. Vaccination of exposed persons during outbreaks has also been shown to prevent further cases and to control outbreaks.

  • For Children who have had one dose of vaccine, receipt of 2 doses of varicella-containing vaccine provides increased protection and minimises the chance of breakthrough varicella in children <14 years of age. However, routine administration of a 2nd dose of varicella-containing vaccine for children is not included on the National Immunisation Program (NIP) schedule. If parents/carers wish to minimise the risk of breakthrough varicella, administration of 2 doses of varicella-containing vaccine is recommended.

  • Post exposure vaccination should be administered within 5 days, and preferably within 3 days, after exposure.

  • Pre-exposure vaccination of household contacts of people with impaired immunity is strongly recommended. Pregnant women should not be given the varicella vaccine, and anyone receiving the vaccine should avoid becoming pregnant for at least 28 days after vaccination.

Further information

Please click here for further information.

Additional information can also be found here.