Chickenpox outbreak at Buncombe Co. school

BUNCOMBE CO., NC (WSPA) – Buncombe Co. Health & Human Services is asking people to get vaccinated against the disease after an outbreak at a school.

They say 5 people at one school have been sick with it since the beginning of February.

They say they are aware of additional cases of chickenpox in other kids in their community.

They say chickenpox is easily transmitted by coughing, sneezing or fluid from a blister.

It’s not a serious illness, but causes kids and parents to miss school and work, according to BCHHS.

However, they say it can cause complications in immunocompromised persons, children younger than 1 year of age and adults.

They say severe complications include bacterial skin infections, blood stream infections, pneumonia, encephalitis (infection of the brain) and death.

“Chickenpox is not a benign disease. Not only is it painful, but once you have been infected with chicken pox, you are at risk of getting shingles later in life, which is also very painful and can cause lasting chronic pain in adults. Additionally, getting sick with chickenpox can lead to serious illness like pneumonia and even death in rare situations, something that is not seen with people who are immunized,” says Dr. Jennifer Mullendore, the Buncombe County Medical Director.

They say it takes 10-21 days to get symptoms after you are exposed and you are contagious 1-2 days before the rash starts.

You are contagious until all the blisters have scabbed which is usually 4-7 days after the rash starts, according to BCHHS.

If you have never had chickenpox or the vaccine, you should get vaccinated within 3 days of being exposed, they say.

They say you should contact your doctor if you develop symptoms. To protect others, you should call ahead if you are going to visit a health facility.

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