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Communicable Disease Paper

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Words 1514
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Communicable Disease Paper
Maria G. Sanchez
HCS/457
June 29, 2015
Charlotte A. Ferrell

Communicable Disease Paper
One of the many highly communicable diseases is chickenpox. This communicable disease is caused by varicella-zoster virus (VZV) which has a resemblance with the herpes virus. It can be transmitted in two ways, one through direct contact with the fluids from the blisters, mucus, or saliva and second through air where the virus is disseminated by coughing or sneezing. A person who has chickenpox can spread the virus even before he or she has any symptoms. Chickenpox is regarded as highly communicable for individuals who are exposed to the disease for the first time nor have been vaccinated against it. They have an 80% risk of acquiring the disease through close contact of an infected individual. As claimed by the Pub Med Health, “most children with chickenpox exhibit symptoms like fever, headache, stomach ache, sore throat, loss of appetite, or presence of small, fluid-filled, itchy, red spots over the skin.” Chickenpox causes a red, itchy skin rash that usually appears first on the abdomen or back and face, and then spreads to almost everywhere else on the body, including the scalp, mouth, arms, legs, and genitals. At the time when the chickenpox blisters has dried and formed scabs is the point where the individual isn’t contagious.
Chickenpox is normally a mild disease. Each and every individual is at risk of being infected by chickenpox – no exception. It is known to have life threatening effects. As the Directors of Health Promotion and Education states, “in the United States, 4,000 to 9,000 individuals are hospitalized annually with chickenpox, with approximately a hundred casualties. Those at highest risk for complications are newborns, individuals with compromised immune system, and adults.” As chickenpox is caused by a virus, it has no cure and the virus would remain in our system for a lifetime even after we’ve done exhibiting the signs and symptoms of the illness. Furthermore, the virus can induce another kind of illness called shingles. After a chickenpox infection, some of the VZV may remain in your nerve cells. Many years later, the virus can reactivate and resurface as shingles, a painful band of short-lived blisters. The virus is more likely to reappear in older adults and people with weakened immune systems. There are several known complications of chickenpox and these are infections, encephalitis, and hepatitis. Pregnant women are known to be of the highest risk for the virus causing still births and infections during delivery.
Environmental factors such as type of season, school sessions, and overcrowding are some of the main causes of the virus’ dispersal. Through research, it has been identified that the varicella-virus occurs during autumn and declines during summer months. During summer months, the virus is known to have diminished as schools are closed and the children seldom get in contact with one another decreasing the transmission of the virus during these months. This cycle corresponds to the typical school year in the United States. When children go back to school in the fall, they begin to increase the spread of the disease. A typical "mini-epidemic" within a school occurs when one child contracts chickenpox. An infected child in a classroom is all it takes to cause an alarming 90% mini-epidemic. The mini-epidemic can be caused by an overcrowded environment which makes the transmission of the virus easy and quick. On the bright side of it, the body becomes immune to the illness as an individual is once infected by the virus. Presently, the incidence of chickenpox has dropped as vaccinations have become widely available. Prior to the advent of chickenpox vaccine, infected individuals would often die or end up with a complication known as encephalitis which causes brain damage. The vaccine was made available to the public not to prevent or stop chickenpox from occurring but to foil severe symptoms and death from infected individuals. As claimed by CDC in 2012, “chickenpox vaccine is the most excellent means to avoid chickenpox. Vaccination does not only safeguards vaccinated individuals; it also reduces the unvaccinated individual’s risk of getting exposed.” The chickenpox vaccine has been known to keep 11 out of 12 vaccinated individuals. In the United States, children receive two varicella vaccinations as part of the routine childhood immunization – first dose is first given between ages 12 and 15 months and the second dose between ages 4 and 6 years” (Mayo Clinic, 2010, p. 2). The advent of chickenpox vaccine was to eradicate chickenpox to improve the health of individuals. As a vaccinated individual contracts the disease, it wouldn’t be lethal and may last just for a few days.
Varicella zoster vaccine was made part of the community immunization programs in order to eradicate the disease and preventing it to create an epidemic in communities. The goals of community immunizations program are lessening or eradicating chickenpox cases and managing epidemic episodes that may arouse in the community. At present, chickenpox hasn’t been eradicated in our society but has the occurrence has significantly diminished over the years allowing the community to live healthier lives. Education has been the key in community programs for individuals who have been once infected. Individuals who are exhibiting the signs and symptoms of chickenpox are advised to stay at home in order to avoid transmitting the disease to other people.
In-charge of investigating infectious disease and managing community outbreaks is the public health department. Varicella-zoster is known to be a public health problem due to the fact that it brings about other illnesses such as pneumonia, encephalitis, hepatitis and also death. According to the Monroe County Health Department, “Public Health works to prevent and mitigate disease in the population. Clean drinking water, safe food, and control of disease are public health objectives that are always at work. Public health is always preparing for what will come next while also improving health in the present.” In cooperation with the local medical doctors, the public health department is devoted to avoid the proliferation of communicable diseases such as chickenpox. Up-to-date information and support to unvaccinated individuals are given by the public health department to keep everybody informed and vaccinated. Education programs being provided by the public health department keeps the society up-to-date with the latest treatments and preventive measures as regards to varicella-zoster. Keeping the infection rate checked is significant in the management of chickenpox. Influence of Lifestyle, Socioeconomic Status, and Disease Management the key of lowering the individual’s risk of acquiring a communicable disease is through smart lifestyle choices in the aspects like diet, exercise, hygiene, and physician-patient relationship. An ailing individual at the bottom of the socioeconomic status would less likely seek medical attention due to the lack of financial capability to afford it. According to the Public Health Disease Management Guidelines, “Physicians, health professionals, and others listed in Section 22 of the Public Health Act shall notify the MOH (or designate) in the prescribed form by mail, fax or electronic transfer within 48 hours concerning all confirmed cases of chickenpox.” Infected individuals are not required to show up at work or school or in any public place if the fluid-filled blisters haven’t crusted over.
In conclusion this paper is entirely about chickenpox. It is a communicable, viral disease that remains in our system for a lifetime even though the host hasn’t exhibited any of its signs and symptoms. Vaccination is the most important means to minimize the risk of acquiring the disease. Another means of reducing the risk of having the disease is avoiding infected individuals. An infected adult is at high risk of having complications such as shingles and death due to the possibility of a mutated virus. Its highly recommended that infected individuals should stay in their respective homes as they exhibit the signs and symptoms of the disease until such time that the blisters have already crusted. As an individual has already been infected by the virus, he or she is now immune to it. In cooperation with physicians, communities have been devoted to informing the society about the disease. In the communities, resources are promptly available to provide excellent community services. Medical professionals recommends individuals to acquire the vaccine in order to prevent complications that would be brought about by the disease.

References
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC. (2012). Varicella (Chickenpox) Vaccination.
Retrieved June 26, 2015, from http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/varicella/default.htm
Directors of Health Promotion and Education, DHPE. (2010). Chickenpox. Retrieved June 26, 2015, from http://www.dhpe.org/infect/Chicken.html
Monroe County Health Department. (2009). what is Public Health? Retrieved June 26, 2015, from http://www.co.monroe.mi.us/government/departments_offices/public_health/index.html
Net Industries. (2011). Chickenpox and Environmental Factors. Retrieved June 26, 2015, from http://science.jrank.org/pages/1405/Chickenpox-Chickenpox-environmental-factors.html
Pub Med Health. (2013). Varicella; Chicken Pox. Retrieved June 26, 2015, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002559/

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