Chickenpox Alert from SHS

Don’t freak out, but please be advised:
Friday, August 31, 2012 10:34 AM
Dear Faculty and Staff:

I am writing to advise you that there has been a case of chickenpox (varicella) diagnosed at the University.  While chickenpox is a highly infectious disease if you have ever had chickenpox or have received the standard two doses of chickenpox vaccine, you have immunity and should not contract chickenpox.

If you do not have immunity, please review the following information so that you can be aware of your possible risks of exposure, as well as the signs, symptoms and steps you can take.

Varicella is spread through airborne particles, respiratory droplets and skin-to-skin contact.  The infected student does not live in the residence halls, and visited campus on two occasions during the infectious stage: Monday, Aug. 27 and Wed., Aug. 29.  Locations that the student studied in or visited are: Creative Arts, Humanities, Science, Business, Burk Hall and Bookstore.  The student travelled to and from campus on public transportation via Oakland – San Francisco BART and the Muni 28 Bus.

If you are not immune and you are pregnant or immune-compromised you may be at high risk for the complications of chickenpox (varicella). Please contact your health care provider ASAP as there may be preventive measures that your provider will want to take within 3 – 5 days of exposure.

If you are not immune to chickenpox but are otherwise healthy, you are advised to reduce your risk of getting chickenpox (varicella) in the next 2-3 weeks by getting one dose of the varicella vaccine within 3-5 days of exposure.  The vaccine is available at public health departments, travel clinics and some pharmacies.  See the Student Health Services chickenpox page for details on locations and availability:
For those who are exposed to chickenpox and not immune, there is a high risk they will become infected in 2-3 weeks. Symptoms generally consist of fever, tiredness, headaches, and a rash that turns into itchy, fluid-filled blisters that scab after several days. If you experience these symptoms, you should isolate yourself at your home or in your dorm room, and call your health care provider.

  We are monitoring the situation carefully, and given that most persons have immunity through childhood exposure or vaccination, we do not expect a major outbreak on campus.

For more information on chickenpox, and varicella vaccine please see the Student Health Services  website: 


Alastair K. Smith MD

Director Student Health Services

San Francisco State University

1600 Holloway Ave.

San Francisco, CA 94132