To: Community Members
From: Kathi Himebaugh, RN
Re: Advisory from MDH (Minnesota Department of Health)
Please keep in mind that this advisory is regarding the state of Minnesota, not only Grand Meadow. The only 2 school outbreaks at this time are Hennepin and Stearns County. To my knowledge we’ve NOT had any cases of chickenpox in the Grand Meadow school age kids. However with many families and friends gathering together in the coming days please keep in mind the transmission of germs. Handwashing is your #1 defense! Chickenpox is an air borne illness (as well as fluid contact). Chickenpox may sometime present with cold like symptoms.
MDH also notes that Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD) is also occurring, and it can be hard to differentiate the two diseases just by looking at the rash, especially if they are mild or atypical. With this in mind, just be watchful and communicate with your medical provider if you come across a rash you’re unsure of. The exclusion period for varicella is longer than for HFMD, so testing helps health care providers make appropriate recommendations to prevent varicella from spreading. Testing and reporting also allows us to follow-up with cases and notify high-risk individuals who were exposed, such as pregnant women and immunocompromised persons. All cases should be reported to MDH by your health care professional.