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Students with chickenpox isolated to stop spread

[nicevideo link= “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjjV3HqMXbs”] Video by Blake Middleton

*UPDATED* –  4/9/14 at 12:55 p.m.

Those who never had chickenpox or the vaccine will want to pay attention: Student Health Services (SHS) has isolated two students diagnosed with chickenpox.

UNF sent an Osprey update on April 8 at 5:26 p.m. warning of the outbreak and reminding students that it’s highly contagious.

One student lives in the Fountains and the other off campus.

SHS has isolated both students as a precaution to keep it from spreading, said Doreen Perez, director of Health Administration and SHS.

Doreen Perez, director of health administration and Student Health Services advises students with chickenpox symptoms to contact SHS immediately. Photo by Rebecca Rodriguez
Doreen Perez, director of health administration and Student Health Services, advises students with chickenpox symptoms to contact SHS immediately. Photo by Rebecca Rodriguez.

“[Students] must stay in in their dorms, so they can’t go to class, they can’t work, they can’t use the library or computer lab, they can’t go to the dining hall. They have their meals delivered to them. We don’t want them out exposing anybody else while they’re still contagious,” Perez said.

Perez said this is the first chickenpox outbreak at UNF.

“With adult chicken pox, [the adults] tend to be sicker. This is a serious disease for adults. It usually affects not only the rash and running a fever, but it can affect the lungs, and so we need to see the students. This is a serious illness that we want to get a handle on. We’ve been in contact with the health department, and they will be setting up steps for us.”

Perez said the affected students’ roommates have all been vaccinated, and SHS is hoping they won’t get the virus.

“Because they’ve been living together, they’ve already been exposed. That’s a done deal. You shed the virus several days before you actually come down with the rash,” Perez said.

“We know that the vaccine is not one-hundred percent,” Perez said.

Perez said the students presented the symptoms yesterday, were diagnosed, and then SHS worked on getting the notice sent out.

Perez said, “Time will tell,” when asked how SHS can be sure more than two students aren’t affected, since it takes 10-21 days to show signs.

Perez said she doesn’t think the outbreak had anything to do with parents not wanting to vaccinate their children.

[box type=”info” style=”rounded”]Fast facts on chickenpox
—> Contagious disease caused by varicella-zoster virus
—> Air-borne virus that can spread through touching
—> Infected people can spread the disease one to two days before they get the rash
—> Takes 10-21 days for someone to develop chickenpox after exposure to infected person
—> Vaccinated people can still spread the disease
—> Some people can get it more than once, but it’s uncommon
—> Affects adults more severely than children
—> Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent catching it[/box]

Perez said, “[students will be kept isolated] until all of the scabs have crusted over. And that’s usually until the day of outbreak until the end, around  7-10 days.”

Perez said it will be up to the individual professors to deal with students needing make-up exams if they were infected.

There have not been any other reported cases of chickenpox since the update was sent out, Perez said.

Perez said there was a meningitis outbreak at UNF with three cases around 2000 or 2001. The students were treated and kept isolated.

In the Osprey Update, students are advised to get vaccinated against chickenpox. It also says anyone who suspects they have chickenpox should call SHS at (904) 620-2900 to be isolated and seen by a health care professional immediately.

Email Rebecca Rodriguez at [email protected]

Email Blake Middleton at [email protected]

Email Tiffany Felts at [email protected]

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