Chickenpox outbreak declared in Tuktoyaktuk

Tuktoyaktuk is facing a chickenpox outbreak, the NWT’s chief public health officer said on Thursday.

A notice posted to Facebook earlier in the week and attributed to the hamlet’s health centre suggested exposure had taken place during a hockey game at the community’s arena on January 22.

Canadian North flight 5T 244 between Yellowknife and Inuvik on February 2 is also listed as an exposure site.


The chickenpox vaccine will now be offered at a Friday walk-in clinic to Tuk residents who haven’t already had chickenpox or been immunized against it.

Chief Public Health Officer Dr Kami Kandola’s office said the outbreak involves “multiple individuals in different households.”

Chickenpox is notoriously contagious, spreading through the air or through contact with the skin lesions it creates. Anyone infected is contagious from one to two days before symptoms appear “until all lesions are crusted,” which can take 10 days or more, the territorial government stated in a Thursday news release.

“If you become ill and develop a rash, please notify your local health centre and isolate away from others, particularly susceptible pregnant women, Elders, those who are immune-compromised and those who are unvaccinated,” the territory’s advisory continued.

“If you are pregnant and not immune, immune-compromised or unvaccinated, and have been exposed to chickenpox, you must immediately call the Tuktoyaktuk Health Centre (1-867-977-2321) for advice.”