MOPH warns of chickenpox outbreak

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BANGKOK, 3 February 2014 The Ministry of Public Health has reported that more than 2,500 cases of chickenpox were found last month while advising the public to be wary of an outbreak of the disease until March. 

Permanent Secretary for Public Health Dr Narong Sahamethapat stated that the cool weather during January-March of every year was conducive to the spread of varicella-zoster virus, which causes chickenpox. He thus encouraged all to be on guard against the highly communicable disease as anyone with low immunity could be infected, especially children under the age of 1.

Based on statistics in January, up to 2,565 patients were diagnosed with chickenpox during the first 19 days of the month. Last year, more than 48,000 cases were reported, most of which were among children aged between 5 and 9, followed by 4-year-olds and under.

Dr Narong said he had instructed public health offices nationwide to disseminate knowledge about chickenpox and preventive practices to the people. As the virus can be transmitted through physical contact and breathing, special attention should be paid to shared spaces like schools and childcare centers.

In children, initial symptoms usually include low fever, fatigue and loss of appetite while adults would experience high fever, body aches, skin rashes and blisters. If any of the symptoms are detected, medical attention should be sought immediately in a bid to prevent an outbreak.