USF students received an email Friday morning from Dean for Students Michael Freeman, confirming a case of chickenpox found on campus.
“Although chickenpox is not a serious disease for most people, it is highly contagious, which is why the university has decided to notify all students, faculty and staff,” the email said.
Dr. Joseph Puccio, Medical Director for Student Health Services, said even those who have contracted chickenpox or have been vaccinated could be at risk, though a much more reduced one.
“Even with the vaccine, which is a good one, studies have shown that mild cases have developed,” he said. “The rash may be mild and there may be no fever, but there’s still a possibility.”
Puccio said chickenpox is very contagious and is spread through respiratory droplets, such as through coughing or sharing forks, knives and spoons.
Symptoms include fever, fatigue, headache, loss of appetite and an itchy red or pink raised bumps on the skin, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Puccio said the symptoms for those who have been vaccinated could be more mild.
He said if students noticed they develop symptoms, he strongly encourages them to get them checked by a medical professional and avoid large crowds. To treat fevers, he said, Tylenol and Motrin can be used, but aspirin should be avoided as it can lead to Reye syndrome, which causes acute brain and liver damage, to those who have chickenpox.
USF does not require chickenpox vaccines except for individuals involved in health-related fields.
— Reporting by Divya Kumar