Disease forecaster Ascel Bio today is issuing an alert for Varicella disease across the United States.
Warnings for Arkansas, Illinois and Ohio are issued as these states are seeing higher incidence rates above forecast, according to the most recent data from June 2016.
Currently, Arkansas transmission rate is forecast to increase in late summer months before decreasing in the fall. Although Illinois projection currently shows a large depression that continues until mid-fall, last observed case count surpasses the forecast high. Fall season forecast for Illinois shows fluctuating increases. Ohio projection currently shows the state entering a depression before surging during late summer months, with an eventual larger rise in the fall.
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.
Dan Nguyen joined Ascel Bio as a DiseaseCast contributor in January 2016. He holds a B.S. in Health Sciences and is currently a Medical Assistant working in New York State. Dan brings a passionate interest in clinical best practices and global health care issues to his reportage on disease outbreaks.