Health advisory: Chickenpox update
Health update, 6:30 p.m., Friday:
According to Student Health Services, a second student was diagnosed today with Chickenpox. This case appears to be unrelated to the first case announced below.
The second student lives on campus and visited Creative Arts and Ethnic Studies and Psychology buildings, the Library, Student Services Building, the Student Center as well as the Towers and Dining Center. Student Health Services has taken appropriate action and will continue to monitor the situation.
Student Health Services anticipates the possibility of additional cases and encourages the entire campus community to take appropriate action, as described in Dr. Smith's original letter below.
For more information on Chickenpox, please see the Student Health Services website: http://health.sfsu.edu/chickenpox-varicella.
Aug. 31, 2012 -- Director of Student Health Services Alastair K. Smith sent the following message to students, faculty and staff today:
Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:
I am writing to advise you that there has been a case of chickenpox (varicella) diagnosed at the University. While chickenpox is a highly infectious disease, if you have ever had chickenpox or have received the standard two doses of chickenpox vaccine, you have immunity and should not contract chickenpox.
If you do not have immunity, please review the following information so that you can be aware of your possible risks of exposure, as well as the signs, symptoms and steps you can take. Varicella is spread through airborne particles, respiratory droplets and skin-to-skin contact. The infected student does not live in the residence halls, and visited campus on two occasions during the infectious stage: Monday, Aug. 27 and Wed., Aug. 29. Locations that the student studied in or visited are: Creative Arts, Humanities, Science, Business, Burk Hall and Bookstore. The student travelled to and from campus on public transportation via Oakland-San Francisco BART and the Muni 28 Bus.
If you are not immune and you are pregnant or immune-compromised you may be at high risk for the complications of chickenpox (varicella). Please contact your health care provider ASAP as there may be preventive measures that your provider will want to take within 3-5 days of exposure.
If you are not immune to chickenpox but are otherwise healthy, you are advised to reduce your risk of getting chickenpox (varicella) in the next 2-3 weeks by getting one dose of the varicella vaccine within 3-5 days of exposure. The vaccine is available at public health departments, travel clinics and some pharmacies. See the Student Health Services chickenpox page for details on locations and availability: http://health.sfsu.edu/chickenpox-varicella.
For those who are exposed to chickenpox and not immune, there is a high risk they will become infected in 2-3 weeks. Symptoms generally consist of fever, tiredness, headaches, and a rash that turns into itchy, fluid-filled blisters that scab after several days. If you experience these symptoms, you should isolate yourself at your home or in your dorm room, and call your health care provider.
We are monitoring the situation carefully, and given that most persons have immunity through childhood exposure or vaccination, we do not expect a major outbreak on campus.
For more information on chickenpox, and varicella vaccine please see the Student Health Services website: http://health.sfsu.edu/chickenpox-varicella.
Alastair K. Smith MD
Director, Student Health Services