BENGALURU: With mercury soaring due to early onset of , the city is seeing a rise in infection, especially among children at a time when exams are beginning.
Lack of awareness about is said to be the major culprit. Chickenpox is a viral illness that generally starts with mild . Multiple small red bumps are formed on the skin and they turn into thin-walled blisters filled with water. They become cloudy blisters or open sores and finally dry up with brown crusts.
Dr SM Prasad, vice-president, Indian Academy of Pediatrics Bengaluru, said his clinic attended to three cases in the last five days alone.
“Usually, chickenpox cases see a rise as summer sets in. Though there are vaccines available, there is a lack of awareness and the vaccine is not included in the government vaccination programme. Two doses of vaccine is suggested for protection. It’s administered only in private hospitals,” Dr Prasad said.
The first dose of vaccine is given to children when they are 14 month old and a booster shot is given at 4-5 years of age. The second dose can also be administered 4 months after the first dose. There are vaccinations for adults too. Chickenpox rash begins on the trunk and spreads to face and extremities. Some sores may appear in the mouth, on eyelids or genital area.The infection is highly contagious and is acquired by direct with infected blister fluid or by inhalation of respiratory droplets.
“Those with low immunity levels and elderly people with diabetes and cardiovascular diseases are vulnerable to chickenpox and herpes infection. Both are caused by varicella zoster virus,” said Dr Ambanna Gowda, general physician, Fortis Hospital. For the last three weeks, he has been seeing 3-4 cases every seven days.
Some of the affected children have missed their annual exam. “There was no way that I could send my child to the school when she had an oral exam. The school understood the issue and a medical certificate was produced. Another slot will be given for her exam once she recovers,” said a parent from Hebbal, whose 12-year-old daughter is infected with chickenpox.