Five cases of chickenpox at Wando High prompt DHEC warning

Wando High School

A chickenpox outbreak at Wando High School has prompted the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control to send a second letter to parents warning them after five cases of the virus have been reported.

The letter, sent through the Charleston County School District, tells parents to have their children vaccinated if they are not current on their shots. School-age students should have two doses of the vaccine over the course of a year.

The first letter, sent March 16, notified parents of the first cases of the disease.

The classic symptom of chickenpox is a rash that turns into itchy, fluid-filled blisters that eventually turn into scabs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The rash may first show up on the face, chest and back, then spread to the rest of the body, including inside the mouth, eyelids or genital area. It usually takes about one week for all the blisters to become scabs. Other typical symptoms that may begin to appear 1 to 2 days before the rash include: fever, tiredness, loss of appetite and headache.

Infected children usually miss 5 to 6 days of school or child care due to chickenpox, according to the CDC.

But there is a danger to others if a student does not have the vaccine, so the school is taking precautions.

“Students who have not previously had chickenpox and who have never been vaccinated against chickenpox, and choose not to receive the varicella vaccine, will be excluded from school,” the letter from DHEC said. “Exclusion will continue until 21 days after the rash onset in the last identified chickenpox case at the school.”

Parents are urged to call their doctors for the shot.

The letter from DHEC is available on the Wando High website: http://wandohigh.ccsdschools.com/UserFiles/Servers/Server_2879574/File/mainsite/Second_Varicella_Parent_Letter_April%202016.pdf