Chickenpox outbreak hits Malawi’s border district of Mwanza

With summer season at its prime, one of Malawi’s border districts, Mwanza, has been hit by chickenpox outbreak which according to health officials has already attacked 100 people.

Chickenpox, according to various health journals Nyasa Times accessed, is a contagious viral infection in which a person develops extremely itchy blisters all over the body. It used to be one of the classic childhood diseases before the introduction of the chickenpox vaccine.

Mwanza district health office spokesperson Taonga Kasomekera told private owned radio Zodiak that the situation is serious as over 100 people have already been given treatment.

Chickenpox Patient

“Yes, it is true we have an outbreak of chickenpox here in Mwanza. The situation is under control and as we are speaking our medical team is on the ground administering medical treatment,” said Kasomekera.

Schools affected

Meanwhile, the development according to Kasomekera has affected the official opening of some schools in the district. Malawi school calendar got underway on September 3.

He added that this is the case because the disease is spread easily to others through coughing or sneezing as well as touching fluids from the blisters.

Moses Jumbe a teachers at Matope primary school said that District Education Manager for Neno Reuben Menyere has since advised the Primary Education Advisors for the area not to open the schools for the new term for new term following the out break.

Spreads easily

“Chickenpox can be spread very easily to others. You may get chickenpox from touching the fluids from a chickenpox blister, or if someone with the disease coughs or sneezes near you. Even those with mild illness may be contagious,” said Kasomekera.

Added he: “A person with chickenpox becomes contagious 1 to 2 days before their blisters appear. They remain contagious until all the blisters have crusted over. So I guess that is the reason why some schools especially in most affected areas have not commenced classes.”

The disease, according to information Nyasa Times sourced on World Health Organization (WHO) website, mostly occurs in children younger than 10. However, it becomes more deadly when it attacks older children as they get sicker than kids.

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