Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, Island healthcare leaders investigate reported chickenpox case

October 6, 2023

Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, Island healthcare leaders investigate reported chickenpox case

OAK BLUFFS, MA – Martha’s Vineyard Hospital is working with Island healthcare leaders and the Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School to address a reported case of varicella, also known as chickenpox.

Two additional cases are being investigated at this time.

“We are working in collaboration with the board of health and the school on a solution to address potential exposure to students,” said Claire Seguin, Martha’s Vineyard Hospital chief nurse and vice president of operations.

Contact tracing is being conducted by the Island Boards of Health contact tracing team and parents will be notified accordingly if their child was exposed.

Chicken pox complications can often be very serious, for both children and adults, and studies have shown chicken pox-related hospitalizations have decreased 97% since the vaccine became available in 1995.

Seguin said the best way to avoid chickenpox is to be vaccinated.

“Vaccines help bring the spread of chickenpox, and other infectious diseases, under control,” Seguin said. “Low vaccination rates introduce a vulnerability.”

Please contact your child’s pediatrician for more information or to schedule a vaccination appointment.

Here’s what parents need to know about Varicella (chickenpox)

  • Varicella, also called “chickenpox,” causes an itchy rash that usually lasts about a week.
  • Chickenpox is usually mild, but it can be serious in infants under 12 months of age, adolescents, adults, pregnant people, and people with a weakened immune system. It can also cause fever, tiredness, loss of appetite, and headache.
  • It can lead to skin infections, pneumonia, inflammation of the blood vessels, swelling of the brain and/or spinal cord covering, and infections of the bloodstream, bone, or joints.
  • Most people who are vaccinated with two doses of varicella vaccine will be protected for life.
    • Children
      • First dose: age 12 through 15 months
      • Second dose: age 4 through 6 years
    • Older children, adolescents, and adults also need 2 doses of varicella vaccine if they are not already immune to chickenpox. Varicella vaccine may be given at the same time as other vaccines.
    • A child between 12 months and 12 years of age might receive varicella vaccine together with MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine in a single shot, known as MMRV.

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