A CHICKENPOX alert has been issued for visitors to Shoalhaven Hospital.
People who visited Shoalhaven District Memorial Hospital between Monday, August 19 and Friday, August 23 have been advised to look for symptoms of chickenpox after a clinician was diagnosed with the infection on Wednesday.
Infection Management and Control Service manager Joanna Harris said the patients and staff potentially exposed to the virus were being notified.
“We are now in the process of contacting all of the patients who may have had contact with the clinician on the days in question,” she said.
“People who visited the hospital on those days are also being encouraged to be mindful of symptoms.”
Chickenpox begins with a sudden onset of slight fever, runny nose, feeling generally unwell and a skin rash.
The rash usually begins as small lumps that turn into blisters and then scabs.
The rash appears over three to four days.
At any one time, the lesions of the rash vary in stages of development.
Symptoms usually occur two weeks after exposure to the virus.
Most people recover but sometimes the infection can lead to serious complications, such as pneumonia and inflammation of the brain. In rare cases, the infection can be fatal.
Anyone who has not had chickenpox or who has not been vaccinated in the past can get chickenpox.
People with a past history of chickenpox are likely to be immune to the virus. Adults with no history of chickenpox have a chance of being immune because of past infection that was mild.
If people do experience symptoms of chickenpox they should see their GP, call ahead before visiting the practice and tell them you may have chickenpox. They can arrange for you to be seen without waiting in the public area.
If you need to visit an emergency department, call ahead and notify staff.
If your doctor believes you have chickenpox, please stay away from other people until five to seven days after your rash first appeared.
For more information and advice about chickenpox visit ISLHD’s website www.islhd.health.nsw.gov.au or contact the infection management and control service on 4222 5898.