A potential case of varicella zoster virus, also known as chickenpox, at the Inuvik Long Term Care facility has lead to visitations being suspended immediately.
Whether the case is actually chickenpox or not is still being determined. The situation is being monitored closely and there is little risk to the public, according to a July 3 release from Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority. Inuvik Public Health is overseeing the investigation.
The release goes on to note anyone who may have concerns or recently visited can contact Inuvik Public Health during regular business hours to find out more information. Anyone who wants to check on family members or people they know staying at the facility can call Inuvik Long Term Care at 867-777-8130.
The vaccine is available for anyone over 12 years of age. Most people do not experience side effects from vaccination, but occasionally experience soreness, some redness of the skin and swelling where the vaccine was administered. Occasionally a fever or a rash that resembles chickenpox can appear. It is given in two doses spread six weeks apart.
Anyone who wants to check on their vaccination status is also welcomed to contact Inuvik Public Health at 867-777-7246.
Varicella zoster virus is a disease that causes itching and sore rashes that resemble water blisters. It can be serious for newborns or adults with compromised immune systems. Complications from chickenpox can include potential lung infection, swelling of the brain or even bacterial infections of the skin.
Like all viruses, once the disease is contracted it stays within the human body forever. It can be spread through the air, through contact with bodily fluids or by touching the pus from the sores. Pregnant women can pass the disease on to their baby as well. Problems later in life that can result from having chickenpox include shingles.