6 new chickenpox cases recorded in Riley Co. after virus dormant for 2 years

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Published: May. 12, 2022 at 12:58 PM CDT
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RILEY CO., Kan. (WIBW) - After two years of dormancy in Riley Co., six new cases of chickenpox have been reported in just two weeks.

The Riley County Health Department says it has received reports of six cases of Chickenpox - Varicella - in the county over the past two weeks. It said the six patients are between the ages of 6 and 14.

RCHD noted that chickenpox had not been seen in the county since 2020 when a single case was found in a 16-year-old who returned from overseas.

The Health Department said chickenpox causes an itchy rash of blisters and fever, is highly contagious, and spreads when a person touches or breathes in the virus particles.

RCHD said those who have not had chickenpox or received the vaccine can get the disease. Some who have been vaccinated can still get the disease. However, it said those who have received a vaccine usually have milder symptoms. It said cases usually last about 4 - 7 days.

The Health Department warned residents to be on the lookout for signs and symptoms including:

  • A rash that turns into itchy, fluid-filled blisters
  • Fever
  • Tiredness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headache

RCHD said chickenpox is usually mild in children, but the itching can be uncomfortable. It said children with chickenpox will miss about a week of school or child care.

In some cases, RCHD said chickenpox can cause serious problems, such as:

  • Skin infections
  • Dehydration
  • Pneumonia
  • Encephalitis

The Health Department noted that the chickenpox vaccine is required in order to start public school.

“If children are behind in getting their required school immunizations, the summer would be a great time to schedule those appointments and get caught up,” said Local Health Officer Julie Gibbs.

For more information about chickenpox, click HERE.

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