Disease forecaster Ascel Bio today is re-issuing an alert for Varicella disease across the United States.
Warnings for Colorado, Texas and Wisconsin are issued as these states are seeing higher incidence rates above forecast, according to the most recent data from late September 2016.
Colorado and Texas remain on our watch list as case counts have continued to increase since our last notice. Wisconsin has been added to our watch as cases have dramatically surged since early September when levels were below forecast low. Although these increases have exceeded our forecast highs, Colorado and Texas observations correlate to our projections as they parallel forecasted peaks. Ascel Bio’s current Texas projection indicates a steady decline that will continue into the winter. Colorado and Wisconsin are expected to have another peak forecast in late October.
Nationally, Ascel Bio is projecting a significant increase in Varicella cases and demand for care during the summer months. Varicella is caused by a DNA virus of the herpesvirus group. Viruses from this group have the ability to persist and live in the nerve ganglia after first infection. Varicella causes lesions all over the body, starting at the head, including additional symptoms such as fever and malaise. The first infection is colloquially called chicken pox and the reactivation of the virus is called shingles. This is highly communicable disease, spread through respiratory secretions and from fluids in present lesions. There is no cure for Varicella and only supportive care is advised. Acetaminophen is recommended as an antipyretic but not aspirin or aspirin containing OTCs as they may cause Reye’s syndrome, a fatal liver and brain disease in young children. Vaccination is the best preventative measure available.