We have been advised to inform you that there is chickenpox circulating in the school.
Here is some information from the NHS –
Patient Information Leaflet
What is chickenpox?
Chickenpox is a viral infection caused by a herpes virus (varicella-zoster virus
VZV). It mainly affects children and causes a characteristic rash.
Chicken pox often starts with a fever, headache and muscle pain before the
rash appears. Common features of chicken pox are:
· Very itchy rash usually starting on the trunk which spreads to the rest
of the body, although hands and feet tend to be unaffected.
· Rash starts as small spots which become fluid filled blisters and
eventually dry to form crusts.
People at special risk
Chickenpox is usually a mild and very common infection but it can be harmful
to certain groups of people. If the following groups of people come into
contact with someone who has chickenpox then they should contact their GP
· Pregnant women
· People with weakened immune systems
· People with blood disorders
· Very young babies (under 4 weeks old)
Rarely, chickenpox during pregnancy can cause complications both for the
women and her baby. If you have already had chickenpox in the past then it is
extremely unlikely that you will get it again.
If you haven’t had chickenpox or are unsure then you should see your GP or
Midwife immediately, even if you have no rash or symptoms.
Chickenpox mainly occurs in children under 10 years old and by adulthood
most people have natural immunity.
How is it spread?
Chickenpox is highly infectious. It is passed from person to person through
contact with infected secretions from blisters or respiratory droplets. It may
also be passed on from items which have been contaminated with secretions
such as bed linen.
The length of time between a person being in contact with the infection and
having symptoms (incubation period) is usually 14-16 days.
Children with chickenpox can be infectious for up to 5 days (usually 1-2 days)
before the start of the spotty rash, until 5 days after the first spots appear.
Children who are immunosuppressed may be infectious for longer.
How is it treated?
In most cases no treatment is required and the illness is self limiting. In some
rare cases, those in the special risk groups mentioned above may require
immunoglobulin to reduce the risk of developing a more severe form of the
Those in the special risk groups should avoid contact with a case of
Children who have chickenpox should stay off school or nursery for a
minimum of 5 days after the start of the rash or until the blisters become dry if
As always, thorough hand washing, paying particular attention to
between fingers and under the nails, is extremely important.
Remember to wash hands:
Using and cleaning the toilet
Helping young children with toileting
Contact with respiratory secretions, e.g. nose blowing.
Feeding youngsters or the elderly
Further information on Chickenpox can be obtained by contacting the
NHS Lothian Health Protection Team on 0131 465 5420 / 5422.
Online by visiting NHS Choices at
http://www.nhs.uk/Pages/HomePage.aspx or by visiting Health
protection Scotland at http://www.hps.scot.nhs.uk/index.aspx