Varicella (chicken pox)
Varicella is a generalized viral illness. It is caused by a member of the Herpes virus group. Varicella is highly contagious, especially in the early stages of the skin eruption (rash). The transmission of varicella is from person to person by direct contact, droplet or airborne spread of vesicle (skin blister) fluid or of secretions of the upper respiratory tract. It is also transmitted indirectly through articles freshly soiled by discharges from the vesicles and mucous membranes of people who have varicella. The scabs of varicella lesions are not contagious.
Sudden onset of slight fever, mild constitutional symptoms, and a skin rash.
Treatment is provided by the employee's personal physician unless there has been a documented exposure to varicella at work. If the employee or his/her personal physician believes that the employee may have contracted varicella at work, the employee needs to contact Employee Health Services as soon as possible. If the employee worked while contagious with chicken pox, he/she needs to notify the Infection Control department immediately. If the employee has been exposed to chicken pox and is unsure regarding his/her immunity to the disease, he/she must contact employee health immediately.
The employee may return to work after chickenpox once all of the skin lesions are crusted over, there are no new lesions, and there are no blisters on the skin. The employee needs to be cleared by his/her personal physician or by Employee Health Services. If the employee reports to work and has a rash that is suspicious for chickenpox, he/she must be sent to Employee Health Services for clearance. If employee health is closed, the employee is to be sent home. It is his/her responsibility to be evaluated and cleared by his/her personal physician if employee health is unavailable.
The following restrictions will be applied for non-immune employees with significant exposures to Varicella. In cases where the varicella titre (test for immunity) is pending, the restrictions are in place until the blood test documents that the person is immune.
The employee will wear a mask from the 9th to the 21st days after the exposure to varicella. The employee will be prohibited from contact with: patients, non-immune employees, and employees who have direct patient contact.
- The employee will wear a mask from the 9th to the 12th days after the exposure to varicella. The employee will be prohibited from contact with: patients, non-immune employees, and employees who have direct patient contact.
- The employee will work in an area without patient or non-immune co-worker exposure during this period.
- The employee must wear a mask at all times and is to avoid elevators and going to the cafeteria.
- If the employee develops Varicella, he/she will be instructed to remain at thome until the skin lesions have crusted over. The employee must report to employee health for a return to work clearance prior to returning to work.