Southern Malawi schools open amid chicken pox outbreak

Schools that were closed  in the southern Malawi district of Neno following the confirmation of an outbreak of chicken have opened for the term.

The schools have gone on to open despite health authorities indicating that there are new cases of the pox that are being registered daily.

Neno district hospital publicist Taonga Kasomekera said in an interview with Nyasa TimesThursday evening  that an average 5 cases of the pox are being reported every day adding that 193 cases have been treated since the outbreak was first reported.

Chickenpox Patient

At  least 400 cases of skin disease have been confirmed.

Kasomekera said ministry of health officials and their partners World Vision International (WVI), and Partners in Health (PIH) have since embarked on a treatment and sensitization excise for the pox.

Kasomekera said WVI has been providing the district health authorities with medication for the pox while PIH is assisting in the sensitization campaign.

Smart Chaima Primary Education Advisor for Matope educational zone said the schools in the zone have now opened for the term and the education authorities have sensitized teachers to send back children that show signs of the chicken pox because the disease is spread through contact.

Chaima said that the pox was reported in the area sometime in August but it became a concern because of the school opening calendar.

Chicken pox is a viral infection in which a person develops extremely itchy blisters all over the body, according to the Public Health website. It is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, a member of the herpes virus family. The same virus also causes herpes zoster (shingles) in adults, according to the website.

Most cases of chicken pox occur in children under the age of 10. Symptoms of chicken pox before rash appears include fever,  headache and stomach-ache.

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