Warning about VERY contagious disease that spreads even faster than Covid – and pregnant women should be especially cautious
- Australian doctors concerned about increasing numbers of varicella-zoster virus
- Prevalent in Queensland, 10,000 plus cases of virus that causes chickenpox
- Some pregnant women in Sunshine State said to be at risk to contract the virus
- Chickenpox can spread quicker than Covid-19, often more severe for adults
- In extreme cases, chickenpox can result in pneumonia, brain damage and death
Chickenpox is one of few major infectious diseases spreading quickly in Australia despite Covid-19 lockdowns putting a lid on the flu.
Authorities have revealed more than 10,000 cases of the varicella-zoster virus responsible for chickenpox were reported in Queensland last year, with similar numbers reported in 2020.
The acute disease, often associated with children, typically results in an itchy, blistering skin rash and mild fever. It can be more severe for adults.
Ominously, the virus has a reproduction number as high as 13, meaning one infected person can potentially pass on the virus to more than a dozen other people.
Doctors across Australia have issued a grim warning about chickenpox, which spreads quicker than Covid-19
In Queensland, there are currently more than than 10,000 cases of the varicella-zoster virus, which causes chickenpox (pictured, a couple exercising in Brisbane)
Clare Walker, a GP and secretary of the Rural Doctors Association of Queensland, recommended residents check their vaccination status for chickenpox.
‘Its been around for a long time and will be with us, probably, for a long time yet — not one that we’re probably going to get rid of,’ she told the ABC.
‘I always just recommend seeing your GP, as they can look at your history.’
In serious cases, chickenpox can result in scarring, pneumonia, brain damage and even death.
Because the virus stays in your body after it is initially contracted, it can return later in life in the form of shingles, a viral infection that causes a painful rash.
Meanwhile, in welcome news with autumn looming, current influenza numbers across Australia are said to be declining.
Mass double vaccinations – as well as booster shots – dating back the start of the pandemic in 2020 have proven to be pivotal in reducing those infected with the flu nationally.
CHICKENPOX: WHAT TO LOOK FOR
- The main symptom is an itchy red rash across the body that often turn into blisters, which then burst
- Chickenpox can also cause flu-like symptoms, such as fevers, headaches and a sore throat
- Symptoms typically stay from between 10 to 21 days
- Pregnant women who contract chickenpox for the first time can see their babies born with severe chicken pox, who then suffer damage to their skin, limbs, eyes or nervous system
- You can help stop the disease spreading by staying away from childcare centres or schools or work venues
• Washing your hands often is also recommended
• Cover coughs and sneezes
Source: Australian Federal Health Department