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Chickenpox (varicella virus)

* Designated Reportable Disease

This is intended as a general guide. Consult a health care provider for diagnosis and for recommendations or advice. Notify the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit if there is a higher than usual number of cases of any disease. To report a case of chickenpox, use the Reportable Disease Form or call a public health nurse or public health inspector on the Infectious Disease team at 1-800-660-5853. This disease is vaccine preventable.

How it Spreads

Contact with blister fluid or saliva of an infected person.

Can also spread through the air; enters the body through the nose or mouth.

A pregnant woman can pass it on to her baby before birth.

Incubation period *2–3 weeks

*Incubation period = Time between contact with disease and start of symptom.

How to Recognize

Begins with a fever, then an itchy red rash develops and quickly turns into fluid filled blisters.

Blisters dry and scab over usually within 5 days.

When it is Contagious

Usually 1–2 days before the appearance of rash and until all blisters are crusted over; usually 5 days.

When to Report/Exclude

For child care and schools, report to the Health Unit via the Health Unit’s Chickenpox reporting form.

Child can return to school when fever is gone and child feels well enough to participate in normal activities (regardless of the state of rash).

Pregnant and immunocompromised individuals should be informed of possible exposure and advised to consult with a health care provide.


Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

Canadian Pediatric Society

MOHLTC Infectious Diseases Protocol 2022