Chicken pox outbreak on campus a concern for students

Posted by Becky Metrick on Monday, May. 7 at 3:36 pm.

A surprising surge of chicken pox cases have been seen in recent weeks by the University Health Center. Five cases have come in with the troublesome spots, although Health Center employees are concerned about more than itching.

According to Health Center Medical Director Dr. Jenny Soyke, children who did not get the immunization when it was produced around 15 years ago, they are more susceptible to it now.

“We’re trying to get people to come and get immunized if they have not been immunized,” Soyke said. “If you look at your shots records, that will tell you if you got them.”

The most common symptom is the scratchy blister, but it can also cause rashes, fever and fatigue. The lasting element would be potential scarring, but it is “purely cosmetic.”

However, in rare cases it can be dangerous and lead to the development of pneumonia and other more serious diseases. Pregnant women are especially susceptible to the more serious complications.

“The people who have chicken pox are not allowed to go to class. So they are missing class, missing tests. That’s a big concern,” Soyke said. She estimates that those diagnosed will not be allowed in class for around two weeks.

Currently, students in the same classes as those diagnosed are being notified by the Health Center. They recommend going and getting the immunization if any signs of chicken pox appear.

“There is a concern about complications, but the thing is, they are not subtle,” Soyke said. Symptoms can resemble strep throat or mono and be just as serious. “If someone has chicken pox, they should pay attention to it.”