Confirmed Case of Varicella

February 02, 2016

The Health Department has released this letter regarding a confirmed case of Varicella in Broward County:

January 27, 2016

This week a confirmed case of Varicella (Chickenpox) in a child was reported to the Florida Department of Health in Broward County. Varicella is a highly contagious disease. The Health Department is notifying potential contacts and you as health care providers in Broward County.

 Incubation Period and Prodrome

The incubation period for varicella is 14 to 16 days after exposure to a varicella or a herpes zoster rash, with a range of 10 to 21 days. A mild prodrome of fever and malaise may occur 1 to 2 days before rash onset, particularly in adults. In children, the rash is often the first sign of disease.

Varicella in Unvaccinated Persons

The rash is generalized and pruritic (itchy). It progresses rapidly from macules to papules to vesicular lesions before crusting. The rash usually appears first on the head, chest, and back then spreads to the rest of the body. The lesions are usually most concentrated on the chest and back.  In healthy children, varicella is generally mild, with an itchy rash, malaise, and temperature up to 102°F for 2 to 3 days. Adults are at risk for more severe disease and have a higher incidence of complications. Recovery from primary varicella infection usually provides immunity for life. In otherwise healthy people, a second occurrence of varicella is uncommon and usually occurs in people who are immunocompromised. As with other viral infections, re-exposure to natural (wild-type) varicella may lead to re-infection that boosts antibody titers without causing illness or detectable viremia.

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