Grand Canyon University: NRS-427V
August 10, 2014
Epidemiology: Chickenpox (Varicella)
Communicable Disease Overview: Chickenpox
Chickenpox also known as varicella is a very contagious disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV). It causes a blister-like rash, itching, tiredness, and fever. Chickenpox can have serious consequences, especially in babies, adults, and immunocompromised persons. The disease spreads easily from infected people to others who have never received the chickenpox vaccine or had chickenpox. Chickenpox spreads in the air through coughing or sneezing through the respiratory tract. The virus particles that come from ...view middle of the document...
The medications may be given within 24 hours after the first rash. The antiviral medications can make the diseases less severe. Taking medications containing aspirin is contraindicated for children or adults with chickenpox because this will cause Reye’s syndrome. The treatment of complications vary, skin infection and pneumonia may be treated with antibiotics, and antiviral drugs are prescribed for encephalitis. Persons with severe complications of chickenpox may be hospitalized ("Chickenpox complications," 2013).
The same varicella zoster virus (VZV) that causes chickenpox can cause shingles (herpes zoster). That can occur later in life, because the VZV lives in the person’s body and can erupt again. Older adults can get vaccinated for shingles.
Varicella has been mostly affecting preschool and school-aged children, however it has been noticed among adults too. In adults the pocks are darker and the scars more noticeable than in children. In the US 55 % of chickenpox deaths are among people over 20 years old.
The highest incidence of chickenpox was among children 1 to 4 years old. It is believed that this age group accounted for such a high incidence in a result of exposure to the virus in preschool (Gibson, 2013).
The incidence of varicella and varicella-related hospitalizations, has declined tremendously since the vaccine became available in 1995. By 2004 varicella cases decreased by 93% when compared with 1995. With the use of varicella vaccine the incidence rate has greatly declined. Because of the higher incidence in breakthrough infection, in 2006 it was recommended that people should be vaccinated with second routine dose varicella vaccine (Gibson, 2013).
The chickenpox vaccine is the best way to prevent chickenpox. Before the vaccine became available, each year about 4 million people would get the disease in the United States. In addition about 10,600 people were hospitalized. As a result about 100 to 150 died each year from chickenpox ("Chickenpox (varicella)," 2011).
Determinants of Health
The determinants of health are the personal, social, economic, and environmental factors that have impact on health status. There are number of health behaviors that have influence on the disease process. Hand hygiene, poor education, inadequate living conditions and low income can attribute to the spread of the chickenpox. Improper hand washing, or not washing hands at all will increase the probability of spreading the virus. People who live in overcrowded houses can easily transmit the virus to one another. People with low income may not have access to healthcare and cannot afford to pay for vaccination. Also lack of proper nutrition is an issue for those people and they become more vulnerable to infections. Under educated people often lack the knowledge about the diseases process, how to prevent the spread of chickenpox or how to treat the infection. Educating people on disease prevention with simple hand...