Three chickenpox cases reported in Kenai/Soldotna area

  • By DAN BALMER
  • Thursday, March 6, 2014 1:52pm
  • News

Three cases of chickenpox in young adults from the Kenai and Soldotna area since mid-February have been reported by the Alaska Department of Health in a press release Thursday.

State officials believe there is potential for more people to be at risk of exposure for anyone who has not been exposed to chickenpox or received a vaccination.

Dr. Brian Yablon, a state epidemiologist, said chickenpox is very contagious and can cause serious complications to infants, adolescents and adults who have not been exposed.

“People think of chickenpox as being a mild disease,” he said. “It can cause complications including pneumonia, encephalitis and rarely cause death.”

He said an infant died from chickenpox in California two years ago.

People at higher risk such as young babies and young adults should get vaccinated if they have not done so.

Yablon said for people born before 1980 are generally safe because they have either been exposed at a younger age and are now immune and cannot capture it again. A chickenpox vaccination is required for school age children from Kindergarten through sixth grade.

The first reported case in the central peninsula occurred in mid-February with the two cases diagnosed more than week later. The illness spreads from person to person by direct contact or through the air by coughing or sneezing, Yablon said. It takes 10 to 21 days after contact for an infected person to develop chickenpox, he said.

A person with chickenpox is contagious one to two days before the rash appears and until all blisters have formed scabs. People with chickenpox should stay away from schools and other public places until their blisters have formed scabs, Yablon said. Anyone who acquires chickenpox is at risk for developing shingles later in life, he said.

“We want to make sure people are aware that chickenpox is circulating in the area and that it is preventable with a vaccination,” he said.

Adolescent and adult vaccines are available at the following local pharmacies and clinics:

  • Kenai MediCenter, 283-9118 
  • Fred Meyer Pharmacy, Soldotna, 260-2233 
  • Peninsula Community Health Services – Cottonwood, 262-3119 
  • Safeway Pharmacy, Kenai, 283-6300 and Soldotna, 714-5400 
  • Peninsula Medical Center, 262-4161 
  • South Central Family Practice, 260-7784 
  • Soldotna Professional Pharmacy, 262-3800
  • Dena’ina Health Clinic, 335-7300

More in News

The Alaska State Capitol is seen on Wednesday, April 6, 2022. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Legislature modernizes 40-year-old definition of consent in sexual assault cases

‘Alaska took a gargantuan step forward in updating our laws,’ says deputy attorney general

Project stakeholders cut a ribbon at the Nikiski Shelter of Hope on Friday, May 20, 2022, in Nikiski, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Stakeholders celebrate opening of Nikiski shelter

The shelter officially opened last December

Peter Segall / Juneau Empire
Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks with reporters Thursday about the state’s budget at the Alaska State Capitol. Dunleavy said lawmakers had sent a complete budget, and that there was no need for a special session.
Dunleavy: No need for special session

Governor calls budget “complete”

A magnet promoting the Alaska Reads Act released sits atop a stack of Alaskan-authored and Alaska-centric books. Lawmakers passed the Alaska Reads Act on the last day of the legislative session, but several members of the House of Representatives were upset with the bill, and the way it was passed. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
In last-minute move, Legislature passes early reading overhaul

Rural lawmakers push back on Alaska Reads Act

Graduates wait to receive diplomas during Connections Homeschool’s commencement ceremony on Thursday, May 19, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Connections honors more than 100 graduates

The home-school program held a ceremony Thursday in Soldotna

Alaska Senate President Peter Micciche, left, and Senate Minority Leader Tom Begich, right, meet with reporters in Micciche’s office in the early morning hours of Thursday, May 19, 2022, in Juneau, Alaska, after the Legislature ended its regular session. Micciche, a Republican, and Begich, a Democrat, discussed their working relationship, as well as well as parts of the session they were either pleased with or disappointed with. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer)
After House balks at bigger figure, budget OK’d with $3,200 payout per Alaskan

Budget finishes as second-largest in state history by one measure, but Dunleavy could make cuts

Loren Reese, principal at Kenai Alternative High School, gives Oliver Larrow the Mr. Fix It award Wednesday, May 18, 2022, at Kenai Alternative High School in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai Alternative graduates 22, says goodbye to principal

The ceremony included special awards customized for students

Graduates throw their caps into the air at the end of Soldotna High School’s commencement ceremony on Wednesday, May 18, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
‘We never fell down’

Soldotna High School honors more than 100 graduates

Brandi Harbaugh gives a presentation during a joint work session on Tuesday, March 2, 2021, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Mill rate decrease, max school funding included in proposed borough budget

The final document is subject to approval by the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly

Most Read