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Chickenpox cases in Savannah

Chickenpox, a highly contagious disease caused by the varicella virus, has been confirmed in two students attending the Savannah College of Art and Design’s (SCAD) Savannah campus. Additional probable cases are under investigation. Chatham County Health Department and SCAD officials are working together to prevent the spread of the disease by educating students and staff and promoting immunization against varicella.

The most recognized symptom of chickenpox is an itchy rash. Other symptoms include fever, tiredness, loss of appetite, and headache. The virus is spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes and can also be spread by touching or breathing in the virus particles that come from the chickenpox blisters. It takes from 10 to 21 days after exposure to a person with chickenpox for someone to develop chickenpox. A person with chickenpox can spread the disease from one to two days before they get the rash until all their chickenpox blisters have formed scabs.

“We are working closely with Savannah College of Art and Design administration to ensure that we provide appropriate information to all students and faculty,” said Diane Weems, M.D., Health Director for the Coastal Health District. “We want to make sure that people are aware of the symptoms and know that the best way to keep from getting the virus is to get vaccinated and the best way to keep from spreading the virus is to stay away from others until their lesions have turned into scabs.”

Most healthy people recover from chickenpox in five to 10 days; however, infants, adults, pregnant women, and those with weakened immune systems who have not been vaccinated and get the chickenpox can suffer from mild to serious complications.

For more information on chickenpox go to www.cdc.gov/chickenpox.