•  Communicable Diseases Signs and Symptoms

    ApplesFor the welfare of all the children in the classroom, please do not send your child to school when she/he is ill. Your child needs to stay home if she/he has a productive cough, sore throat, and/or colored nasal discharge. If your child has a rash, she/he must have a doctor’s note for re-admittance. Most importantly, to lessen the chance of your child contracting an additional illness, you must wait 24 hours after any vomiting, and/or elevated temperature to send your child back to school.
    Please report any confirmed communicable diseases to your child's school.

    We appreciate your help in preventing the spread of disease and in keeping our children healthy, well and ready to learn. If you have further questions about the diseases discussed below or need further assistance please call Ventura County Public Health at 805-981-5221 or your family physician.

    Chicken Pox top back
    Chicken Pox is a very contagious disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus.  The virus spreads easily from people with chickenpox to others who have never had the disease or been vaccinated.  The virus spreads mainly by touching or breathing in the virus particles that come from chickenpox blisters, and possibly through tiny droplets from infected people that get into the air after they breathe or talk.
    Mode of Transmission:  A person with chickenpox can spread the disease from 1 or 2 days before they get the rash until all their chickenpox blisters have formed scabs (usually 5-7 days.)
    Signs or Symptoms:  Before the chickenpox blisters appear a slight fever, headache, not feeling well, loss of appetite are symptoms than a red rash that begins on the chest, back, and face will appear.
    Prevention:  The best prevention is receiving the chickenpox (varicella) vaccination.

    Please keep your child home until all the chickenpox blisters have scabbed.
    If your child has been vaccinated for Chickenpox, it is unlikely that he/she will contract the virus.
    If your child is immunosuppressed; has eczema; has asthma and is on oral prednisone; has leukemia or malignancies, we advise you to consult with your physician or the Ventura County Health Department.

    Fifth Disease top back
    This is a normal childhood virus brought on by the human parvovirus B19. The incubation period is probably five to fourteen days. Students who have contracted the virus are likely to be contagious before the onset of symptoms.
    Rash is usually the most obvious sign, but illness may be present without the rash. If the rash is present it begins as a solid bright red area of eruption on cheeks ("slapped cheek appearance"), spreading to upper arms and legs, trunk, and hands and feet. Rash frequently disappears becoming lacelike in appearance, and then reappears, often within a few hours or at a later date. The rash generally fades completely within one week after onset. Rash may be accompanied by low grade fever, headache and upset stomach. Student needs to be excluded from school while the temperature is elevated.
    The duration of illness is usually five to ten days, but the rash may recur for several weeks afterward, especially when exposed to sunlight, exercise, heat, fever, or emotional stress.
    In adults, Fifth's disease acts like arthritis in the joints. The bottom of the feet and the palms of the hands may be tender. The rash may also appear on adults. If an infected child comes in contact with a pregnant woman, the woman should contact her doctor.
    Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease top back
    The most common presentation is nonspecific fever with a sudden onset, sore throat and oral blisters on the cheeks, gums and sides of the tongue. These lesions may persist from 7 to 10 days and also occur commonly as a rash, especially on the palms and soles; occasionally they appear on the buttocks.
    Probably throughout the world, both sporadically and in epidemics; greatest incidence is in summer and early autumn; occurs mainly in children under 10 years, but adult cases are not unusual. These diseases frequently occur in outbreaks among groups of children in nursery schools child-care centers, etc.
    Direct contact with nose and throat discharges and feces of infected persons (who may be asymptomatic) and by droplet spread, but no reliable evidence of spread by insects, water food or sewage.
    Usually 3 to 5 days
    During the acute stage of illness and perhaps longer, since these viruses persist in stools for several weeks.
    Treatment: none
    Isolation: none
    Concurrent disinfection: of nose and throat discharges, feces and soiled articles.
    Investigation of contacts and source of infection: of no practical value except to detect other cases in groups of pre-school children.
    Particular attention should be given to hand washing and personal hygiene, especially after diaper changing.

    Hepatitis A top back
    Hepatitis A infection is caused by the hepatitis A virus. Hepatitis A virus is passed in the stool of infected persons.
    Common Symptoms: Children infected with hepatitis A virus often have no symptoms. Most adults have symptoms that develop over several days. Symptoms include: fever, tiredness, loss of appetite, nausea, and jaundice.
    Mode of Transmission: Hepatitis A virus is usually spread from person to person. People get hepatitis A infection by putting something in the mouth that has been contaminated with stool of an infected person. The virus is not spread by casual contact, as in the usual work or school setting.
    Incubation Period: Average 28-30 days (range 15-50 days)
    Method of Control: To prevent person-to-person spread, good personal hygiene and proper sanitation are important. Always wash hands with soap and warm water after using the toilet and changing a diaper and before eating or preparing food.
    Mononucleosis top back
    Mononucleosis called mono for short is caused by the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV).
    Common Symptoms: Mono almost always causes the feeling of being really tired, but other symptoms are fever, sore throat, headaches, sore muscles, and swollen lymph glands. Sometimes, it may seem like the flu or maybe strep throat because the symptoms are so much alike. The only way to tell for sure if you have mono is to go to a doctor, who will examine and draw blood for tests.
    Mode of Transmissions: Mono is contagious, person-to-person contact via saliva. Coughing (while not covering your mouth) on someone or sharing pillows, straws, toothbrushes, or food from the same plate can also spread mono.
    Method of Control: Using hygienic measures including handwashing to avoid salvary contamination from infected individuals; avoid drinking beverages from a common container to minimize contact with salvia. There is no vaccine for the Epstein-Barr Virus, but you can try to prevent your child from getting mono by making sure that he or she avoids close contact with other kids who have it.
    Mumps top back
    Mumps is an acute viral disease characterized by fever, swelling, and tenderness of one or more of the salivary glands.
    Who gets mumps?   Although older people may contract the disease, mumps usually occurs in children between the ages of five and 15. Mumps occurs less regularly than other common childhood communicable diseases. The greatest risk of infection occurs among older children. Mumps is more common during winter and spring.
    How is mumps spread?   Mumps is transmitted by direct contact with saliva and discharges from the nose and throat of infected individuals.
    What are the symptoms of mumps?    Symptoms of mumps include fever, swelling, and tenderness of one or more of the salivary glands, usually the parotid gland (located just below the front of the ear). Approximately one-third of infected people do not exhibit symptoms.
    When and for how long is a person able to spread mumps?    Mumps is contagious three days prior to and four days after the onset of symptoms.
    What can be done to prevent the spread of mumps?     The single most effective control measure is maintaining the highest possible level of immunization in the community.

    Pink Eye top back
    This is a contagious eye infection frequently seen in school age children effecting one or both eyes.
    Common symptoms: Are tearing, irritation and puffiness of the mucus membrane that line the eye lid and also extend over the "white" of the eye.
    Mode of Transmission: By the eye drainage and by touching (person to person).
    Cause: bacteria or virus
    Note: a non-infectious conjunctivitis is caused by allergy and does not need exclusion.
    Incubation Period: varies - 1-12 days
    Period of Communicability: - continues during active infection.
    Control measures: Close observation for any eye irritation. Frequent hand washing.
    Pinworm top back
    Pinworm is a small, thin, white roundworm, the size of a staple, that sometimes lives in the colon or rectum of humans.  While an infected person sleeps, female pinworms leave the intestine through the anus and deposit their eggs on the surrounding skin.
    Symptoms:  Causes itching around the rectal area.
    Mode of Transmission:  Infection is spread by the fecal-oral route, that is by the transfer of infective pinworm eggs from the anus to someone's mouth, either directly by hand or indirectly through contaminated clothing, bedding, food, or other articles.  It is usually spread by school children who don't wash their hands properly after using the toilet.
    Prevention & Control:  Washing hands with soap and warm water after using the toilet, changing diapers, and before handling food.
    Ringworm top back
    Ringworm is not a worm.  It is a shallow infection of the skin caused by a fungus.  It may be ring-shaped.
    The incubation period is 10 to 14 days. It is spread as long as the lesions are present and are not being treated by proper medication.
    Ringworm of the skin: Red, flat ringshaped patch that may be moist and crusty, or dry and scaly. It may spread outward and leave a central clear area.
    Ringworm of the scalp: Begins as a small patch and spreads to make a scaly ring of temporary baldness. The hair becomes brittle and breaks off easily.
    The child is excluded from school until a doctor’s note indicates that he/she has been treated. Upon return to school, ringworm on exposed parts of the body should be covered with a small dressing/bandaid.

    Scabies top back
    What is scabies?
    Scabies is an infectious disease of the skin caused by mites. The mites burrow under the skin and lay eggs making a raised rash. This rash is frequently located on the fingers, wrists, thighs, feet, abdomen or around the sex organs. Intense itching occurs, especially at night. Scratching the rash can lead to infections.
    How do you get Scabies?
    The mites are passed by close contact with another person who has scabies or by contact with sheets or clothes contaminated by another infected person. Several days or even weeks may pass before you notice any itching.
    How do you get rid of scabies?
    See your physician for medication. Take a hot bath at night before going to bed and dry your body thoroughly. Then apply the prescribed medication (usually Kwell) to all skin areas from the chin down, including the toes. The lotion should be applied generously and worked into the skin, particularly hairy areas. Take another bath the next day and change into clean clothes. Air the mattress, change the sheets and pillowcases on your bed.
    Clothing and all bedding, including blankets and bedspreads should be laundered in very hot water for at least five minutes. Non-washable clothing or bedding should be dry–cleaned. Lotion may be used again in three days if you are still itching or as recommended by your doctor.
    What can be done to prevent re-infestation?
    Take a bath and change underclothing daily. If you notice a rash on your body, go to a doctor or a clinic right away to prevent it from spreading to other people.

    Shingles top back
    Shingles is a viral infection caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox, but not as contagious in this form. In approximately two weeks observe your child closely for any signs or symptoms of chickenpox such as slight fever, headache, not feeling well, loss of appetite and a red rash that begins on the chest and back. Please keep your child home when he/she is ill.
    If your child has been vaccinated for chickenpox or had the disease, it is unlikely that he/she will contract the virus.
    If your child is immunosuppressed; has eczema; has asthma and is on oral prednisone; has leukemia or malignancies, or has never been immunized for chickenpox we advise you to consult with your physician or the Ventura County Health Department.

    Strep Throat and Scarlet Fever top back
    Strep throat symptoms may include a fever, sore throat, tonsillitis, or tender lymph nodes. An ear infection may occur or appear later. In untreated Strep throat, rheumatic fever may appear in 1 to 5 weeks. Rheumatic heart disease is a later complication.
    Scarlet fever is a form of Strep which includes a rash. Symptoms may include all those related to a Strep throat as well as the rash, strawberry tongue, eruptions in the mouth/throat. The rash is fine, blanches with finger pressure and is seen most often on the neck, chest, folds of the armpit, elbow, groin and inner surface of the thighs. When seen on the face, the cheeks are flushed and around the mouth is pale.
    The incubation period is short, usually from 1 to 5 days. Some children are more susceptible to Strep infections. All Strep infections must be diagnosed by your M.D., usually by a throat culture and treated with antibiotics. With adequate treatment, transmission is generally eliminated within 24-48 hours. Your child may then return to school with a note from your M.D. Do not stop taking antibiotics until the medication is finished.

    Whooping Cough top back

    Whooping cough, is an acute infectious disease caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis.

    Common symptoms:   The initial phase has a slow onset with an irritating cough that gradually becomes a repeated violent cough, usually with 1-2 weeks and lasts for 1-2 months or longer. Highly contagious in the early stages, the child is no longer contagious after 5 days of treatment.

    Mode of Transmission:   Direct contact with discharges from respirator mucous membranes of infected persons by the airborne route (coughing).

    Incubation Period: Average 9-10 days

    Period of Communicability:   Highly communicable in the early phase and at the beginning of the paroxysmal cough stage (first 2 weeks). The child is no longer contagious after 5 days of treatment.

    Methods of control Immunization is the most rational approach to pertussis (whooping cough) control.