By Vivienne Uccello
(Riley County, KS - May 12, 2022) The Riley County Health Department (RCHD) reports that six cases of Chickenpox (Varicella) have been identified in Riley County over the past two weeks. The six patients range in age from 6 to 14 years of age. Chickenpox was last seen in Riley County in 2020, when a single case was identified in a 16-year-old person returning from international travel.
Chickenpox is a disease that causes an itchy rash of blisters and a fever. It is highly contagious and spreads mainly when a person touches or breathes in the virus particles. Anyone who has not had the chickenpox or received the varicella vaccine can get the disease. Some individuals who have been vaccinated against chickenpox can still get the disease. However, they usually have milder symptoms. Chickenpox illness usually lasts about 4 to 7 days.
Be on the lookout for signs and symptoms of chickenpox, including:
- A rash that turns into itchy, fluid-filled blisters
- Loss of appetite
Chickenpox is usually mild in children, but the itching can be very uncomfortable. Children who get chickenpox will miss about a week of school or child care. In some cases, chickenpox can cause serious problems, such as:
- Skin infections
- Dehydration (loss of body fluids)
- Pneumonia (an infection in the lungs)
- Encephalitis (swelling of the brain)
The Varicella (Chickenpox) vaccine is a required school immunization from KDHE
Varicella (Chickenpox) vaccines and all required school vaccines are available at the Riley County Health Department (RCHD) and most doctors offices. Children and adults can get vaccines at RCHD, located at 2030 Tecumseh Road on a walk-in basis. No appointment is needed, but appointments are also available by calling (785) 776-4779 to schedule an appointment. The clinic is open:
- Mon-Wed: 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
- Thurs: noon – 6 p.m.
- Fri: 8:30 - 11 a.m.