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Published On: Sat, Sep 21st, 2013

Chickenpox confirmed on USF Tampa campus, university sends out notifications

A case of the highly contagious, viral disease chickenpox was confirmed on the University of South Florida (USF) Tampa campus, according to a university news release Friday.

Chickenpox image/CDC

Chickenpox image/CDC

The release notes, “Although chickenpox is not a serious disease for most people, it is highly contagious, which is why the university has decided to notify all students, faculty, and staff. Those individuals who were in close contact or classes with the affected student have been communicated with directly.”

Chickenpox is a common, usually benign childhood disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV), a member of the herpes family. This virus causes two distinct diseases; varicella (chickenpox) is the primary infection, and later when VSV reactivates,herpes zoster (shingles).

Chickenpox is highly contagious and is spread by coughing and sneezing, by direct contact and by aerosolization of the virus from skin lesions. You can also get it by contact with the vesicle secretions from shingles.

The disease is characterized by fever and a red, itchy skin rash of that usually starts on the abdomen, back or face and then spreads to nearly all parts of the body. The rash begins as small red bumps that appear as pimples or insect bites. They then develop into thin-walled blisters that are filled with clear fluid which collapse on puncture. The blisters then breaks, crusts over, and leaves dry brown scabs.

The chickenpox lesions may be present in several stages of maturity and are more abundant on covered skin rather than exposed. Lesions may also be found in the mouth, upper respiratory tract and genitals.

Chickenpox is contagious from 1-2 days before the rash forms and continues until all the lesions are crusted over (usually about 5 days).

This disease is more serious in adults than in children. Complications of chickenpox are rare, but include pneumonia, encephalitis and secondary bacterial infections.

Infection with this virus usually gives lifelong immunity, although second attacks have been documented in immunocompromised people. The viral infection remains latent, and disease may recur years later as shingles.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the chickenpox vaccine is the best protection against chickenpox. The vaccine is made from weakened varicella virus that produces an immune response in your body that protects you against chickenpox. The chickenpox vaccine was licensed for use in the United States in 1995.

However, as the USF release notes, you can still contract the disease if you are vaccinated; however, it will likely be a mild case.

USF advises:

If students have any questions regarding chickenpox or experience the symptoms described, they can contact Student Health Services at 813-974-1797 for answers or 813-974-2331 to schedule an appointment to see a doctor. If students contract chickenpox and need assistance notifying their instructors, they can contact the Dean for Students Office at 813-974-6677.

If faculty/staff have any questions regarding chickenpox or the symptoms described, they can also contact Student Health Services at 813-974-1797 for answers.  If they feel they have contracted chickenpox, they should schedule an appointment to see a medical professional.

For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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  1. Know Chickenpox - Varicella Zoster Information says:

    […] Chickenpox confirmed on USF Tampa campus, university sends out notifications […]

  2. Chickenpox | Find Me A Cure says:

    […] Chickenpox confirmed on USF Tampa campus, university sends out notifications […]

  3. Chickenpox confirmed on USF Tampa campus, univers… – The Global Dispatch | Shingles -Herpes zoster says:

    […] Chickenpox confirmed on USF Tampa campus, univers…The Global DispatchChickenpox is highly contagious and is spread by coughing and sneezing, by direct contact and by aerosolization of the virus from skin lesions. You can also get it by contact with the vesicle secretions from shingles. The disease is characterized by …and more » […]

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