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5 SDSU football players out with chickenpox

SAN DIEGO -- Five San Diego State football players came down with the chickenpox just ahead of the start of their season.

Initial reports stated that three football players had come down with the illness. Around 6 p.m., SDSU spokeswoman Gina Jacobs issued a statement that two additional players contracted chickenpox.

"We’ve now identified two additional confirmed cases of chicken pox bringing the total number to chicken pox cases to five. We are in communication with County Public Health Services and will be working with them as needed going forward. The cases are still contained to just the football team and not the general student population (classes begin on Aug. 28).  Athletics and Student Health Services are monitoring and evaluating student-athletes already on campus to identify if there are any additional cases and what additional prevention measures need to be taken to minimize further spread of the infection. SDSU recommends that all students consult their health care provider and obtain the recommended vaccination for chicken pox if they have never had chicken pox and have not been already immunized."

As for the SDSU players who have the illness, no word on how long they will be out of the game.  The team canceled their practice scheduled for Monday evening.

SDSU officials told FOX 5 school is not in session yet, and there have been no cases of chickenpox in the general student population.

Rady Children's Hospital Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Mark Sawyer said that could be the case because chickenpox is highly contagious.

“It’s one of the few infections that literally flies through the air. I’m standing here and you’re six or eight feet away from me, I can give you the chickenpox just by breathing,” the doctor said. “I can’t think of a better way to transmit chickenpox than to face each other on the offensive line two feet away from the head of somebody who has, who is still susceptible to chickenpox. They’re guaranteed to get it."

Sawyer adds chickenpox is more severe for adults.

“They tend to suffer more complications either direct complications from the virus, or sometimes when you get the rash of chickenpox, and all those breaks in the skin, then bacteria can invade and cause more serious infection,” Sawyer said.

FOX 5 spoke to students on campus who said they are not only worried about how the illness could affect their team, but their own health as well.

“I’m definitely worried because if that spreads it could really be bad. Our season starts soon and we want to have a really strong start,” Beth Bushey said. “It would just be really bad if it all spreads so I hope they get that under control and healthy for season."

Doctors say the best way to avoid getting chickenpox is to get vaccinated.

If you think you have the virus you are encouraged to see your doctor right way.