DAVID MCNEAL | STAFF REPORTER
Butler University issued a warning to students Feb. 4 confirming an outbreak of chickenpox, also known as varicella.
“Exposure risk to the illness was greatest between Jan. 29 to Feb. 2. Symptoms occur 10 to 21 days after an exposure,” the Butler Connection said in an email issued to students.
Just several days removed from the likely days of exposure, symptoms related to the chickenpox outbreak may surface within infected students throughout the rest of February.
Jennifer Sage, an administrative specialist from Butler Health Services said they expect a very small number of students to be affected by the outbreak and that with proper procedure in responding to the virus, they expect it to be contained quickly.
Health Services recommends that people who are pregnant, have weak immune systems or have not had vaccinations should contact their medical provider as soon as possible.
Health Services also recommends that if you seek treatment from medical providers outside of Butler University, you should notify Health Services if you are diagnosed with a case of chickenpox.
Chickenpox symptoms include rashes, itching, fevers and tiredness. The chickenpox virus can be spread from person to person through the air or contact with fluid from the chickenpox blisters.
Though usually a mild disease contracted mostly by children under 12, chickenpox can can cause severe bacterial infections, pneumonia and inflammation of the brain.
Even if someone had the chickenpox virus in the past, individuals can also contract shingles, a more severe disease.
This is because the virus remains in the body, lying dormant in the roots of nerves, and can reactivate many years later. Researchers believe the virus is triggered as the immune system weakens with age or is in conditions of stress, according to a Time magazine article.
“About one out of three people in the U.S. is affected by shingles at some point in their lives, with the majority of cases occurring in men and women ages 60 and older,” according to Time Magazine.
To avoid the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the chickenpox vaccine—which is 98 percent effective—for kids, adolescents and adults who have not had chickenpox.
Adults who have not had the disease and may be in close contact with young children should consider getting vaccinated.
There is also a shingles vaccine. Zostavax is recommended for people ages 60 and older, since they are most vulnerable to the infection.
While the vaccine cannot protect you completely from a bout with shingles, it can make the rashes less painful and help clear them up more quickly.
If a fear of needles has stopped you from getting vaccinations thus far, both chickenpox and Butler’s Health Service recommendations should compel you to make a trip to the HRC.