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Marsden High School

Marsden High School

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Health Announcement: Chicken Pox

25 Feb 2019

Dear Parent/Carer

A child attending Marsden High School has been diagnosed with Chickenpox. 

What are the symptoms? - Chickenpox begins with a sudden onset of slight fever, runny nose, feeling generally unwell and a skin rash. The rash usually begins as small lumps that turn into blisters and then scabs. The rash appears over three to four days. At any one time, the lesions of the rash vary in stages of development. Symptoms usually occur two weeks after exposure to the virus. Most people recover without complications, but sometimes the infection can lead to serious complications, such as pneumonia and inflammation of the brain. Rarely, the infection can be fatal. Persons who are previously vaccinated can still get chickenpox. If chickenpox occurs in a vaccinated person it is usually mild and less contagious than in an unvaccinated person.

How is it spread? - Early in the illness, the virus is spread by coughing. Later in the illness, the virus is spread by direct contact with the fluid in the blisters. The infection is highly contagious to people who have never had chickenpox or who have not been vaccinated. People are infectious from one or two days before the rash appears (that is, during the runny nose phase) and up to five days after (when the blisters have formed crusts or scabs) Chickenpox infection triggers an immune response and people rarely get chickenpox twice.

What should parents do? - People with chickenpox should avoid others (and not attend childcare or school) until at least five days after onset of the rash and all the blisters have dried. People with chickenpox should cover the nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, dispose of soiled tissues, wash their hands well and not share eating utensils, food or drinking cups. Pregnant women should avoid anyone with chickenpox or shingles and should see their doctor if they have been around someone with these illnesses. Most cases can be diagnosed based on the symptoms and by appearance of the rash. Sometimes the diagnosis is confirmed by testing samples taken from the rash or from blood.

For further information please refer to the NSW Health factsheet on chickenpox (available from or contact the local Public Health Unit on 1300 066 055.


Yours sincerely,


Lance Berry