Disease forecaster Ascel Bio today is re-issuing an alert for Varicella disease across the United States.
Warnings for Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota and Missouri are issued as these states are seeing higher incidence rates above forecast, according to the most recent data from early October 2016.
Ascel Bio’s current projections for the mentioned states show mild fluctuating increases throughout the rest of the year with one large dip by December. Presently, all four states have seen increases in case counts that exceed our forecast highs, especially in Colorado, Illinois and Missouri where late September levels were within the range of our forecasts.
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.