Health alert signs throughout campus were posted Monday that stated: "The Department of Health and Hospitals, Office of Public Health was notified today of six suspected cases of varicella (chickenpox) at Grambling State University. These possible cases are now being investigated by the health department."
The varicella virus, or chicken pox, is usually a childhood disease. College students are considered to be at risk for this disease if they have not yet had the varicella vaccine or if they never had the disease as a child and therefore developed immunity
Symptoms include aching, irritability, tiredness, sore throat and mild fever for a day or more, followed by the onset of a generalized itchy, blister-like rash.
Those who are experiencing these symptoms and did not have chickenpox as a child and have never received the varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, are being encouraged to report to the Foster-Johnson Student Health Center immediately for further evaluation.
The university is waiting on pending documents confirming the cases. The university has a plan for situations such as this: suspected cases are isolated.
The students on campus with the suspected cases are in isolation in an undisclosed location and have access to doctors.
When they are cleared they will be able to attend classes again.
"Two students have been cleared and two more will be cleared this week," said Dr. Karen Martin, vice president for Student Affairs. "The students have received the vaccine."
Chicken pox is a virus and is airborne so the origination point has not been determined. The office of public health was not available for comment.
"This is not an outbreak," said Martin. "It is exposure to this and the university has faced this situation head on."
Exposure as found on WebMD means being around a person who has symptoms of chicken pox or develops them within 2 to 3 days.
Once you have chickenpox, you are considered immune, and have a very small chance at getting them again.
Students are welcome to receive the vaccination if they have not been vaccinated before in the Foster-Johnson Student Health Center