Chickenpox and its Epidemiology
Grand Canyon University
Concepts in Community and Public Health Nursing
February 20, 2014
Chickenpox and its Epidemiology
Chickenpox is a viral infection caused by the Varicella Zoster Virus (VZV) transmitted via the respiratory route that causes itchy, blisters-like rashes usually lasting about 5-10 days. It is highly contagious transmitted by person to person contact (direct) from respiratory secretions or indirectly through contact with airborne respiratory droplets, via soiled inanimate objects infected by discharge from skin lesions, vesicle discharges or nasopharyngeal secretions. The incubation period lasts about 10-21 days and the disease is communicable 1-2 days before and until the lesions become crusted. The symptoms includes a low grade fever, headache and listlessness which occurs in the prodromal period. This is followed by the appearance of an itchy rash usually mostly on the scalp and trunk but can affect the entire body and mucus membranes such as the mouth with an appearance of shallow white ulcers. The pruritic rash has three phase; macular, papular and vesicular which forms scab and crust over. Fetal effects are rare congenital symptoms which presents as congenital varicella syndrome with infection during the first trimester of pregnancy, low birth weight, extremity atrophy, scarring of the skin and eyes and neurological abnormalities (Maurer & Smith 2013). Treatment of acute infection includes isolation of the infected person at home until the lesions have crusted and supportive by rest, relief of itching with the use of calamine lotion, tepid oatmeal baths and antihistamines, use of mittens and wearing nails short to prevent developing bacterial infection of the skin due to scratching. The use of antipyretics but non aspirin containing medication as this is associated with Reyes Syndrome. Antiviral may be used for immunocompromised persons are those at risk for developing a severe case of the disease to decrease symptoms. Complications includes; secondary bacterial skin infections caused by scratching, encephalitis, pneumonia and death. Prevention of the disease is achieved by vaccination with the varicella vaccine in children, adolescents and adults, and the herpes zoster vaccine for persons 60 years and older (Maurer & Smith). The prevalence of chickenpox it’s highly contagious and more than 95% of Americans get infected by adulthood. The CDC estimates that approximately 4 million cases occur each year worldwide. It occurs mostly in late winter to spring. Incidence approximately 1 in 2,254 or 0.04% or 120,624 people in the Unites States acquire the disease annually. Every year 5000-9000 hospitalizations and 100 deaths from chickenpox in the US ass documented by the CDC-OC. Adults are shown to develop a more severe case of chickenpox with a higher rate of complications and death. Since the availability of the varicella vaccine in 1995 it has shown to be highly effective in reducing the incidence of chickenpox and protective against severe cases (CDC-OC n.d). The determinants of health addresses factors that causes some people to be more healthy than others and how we can adjust situations in our environment to make a society where everyone have a better opportunity to living healthy lives. The determinants of health are identified as the range of personal, social, economic and environmental factors that influences health status. These factors can be categorized under several broad topics such as policymaking, social factors, health services, individual behavior and biology and genetics. To achieve individual and population health these factors have to be interrelated. Determinants of health focuses its efforts beyond traditional health care and public health sectors. It is inclusive of education, housing, transportation, agriculture and environment to be important areas in improving population health...
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