PRISONERS at a Central Queensland prison have been quarantined to stop the spread of a harmful disease.
Queensland Corrective Services (QCS) confirmed three prisoners at the Capricornia Correctional Centre (CCC) in Etna Creek, 20km north of Rockhampton, have already contracted the infectious disease.
All three were diagnosed last Friday.
A QCS spokesman said prisoners in two entire undisclosed units have been isolated.
He said those prisoners would remain in lock-down for 21 days which is "in line with procedures aimed at limiting the spread of infection".
"Chicken pox does occur in the community from time to time and there is an increased risk of spread in places where people live close together, such as the correctional centre," she said.
The illness, which can cause complications in adults, begins with cold like symptoms such as a mild fever, headache, runny nose and cough, according to Queensland Health.
But with a day or two, it advances to a rash, starting as small pink blotches, but rapidly progressing to itchy blisters, which usually last three to four days before drying out and turning into scabs.
A spokesperson for QCS said the quarantined prisoners would be unable to move through the facility which included the use of video conferencing facilities for court matters.
Two men currently in custody at the CCC were due to appear in Rockhampton court yesterday afternoon, but were unable to attend as they were part of the quarantined group.
QCS has been arranging "alternative scheduling of matters" for prisoners affected by confinement at the facility, which houses around 500 males.
A CHICKENPOX outbreak at Rockhampton's Capricornia Correctional Centre has caused disarray in the state's court system.
Queensland Corrective Services has confirmed three prisoners at Capricornia Correctional Centre in Etna Creek, 20km north of Rockhampton, were diagnosed with the infectious disease last Friday.
A spokeswoman said prisoners in two undisclosed units have been confined and will remain locked down for 21 days "in line with procedures aimed at limiting the spread of infection".
This means prisoners in the two units at the Mackay courthouse are unable to move through the facility and can't videolink with courts for proceedings.
However, videolinks are unaffected in other parts of the prison facility.
Queensland Corrective Services has been arranging "alternative scheduling of matters" for prisoners affected by confinement.
Capricornia holds about 500 male prisoners in total.
In Mackay Magistrates Court on Wednesday morning, Magistrate Damien Dwyer said he would have to push back a number of matters for a week due to the situation.
Chickenpox (varicella) is a highly contagious disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus.
It starts with cold-like symptoms such as a mild fever, headache, runny nose and cough, according to Queensland Health.
A day or two later a rash begins, starting as small pink blotches but rapidly progressing to itchy blisters which usually last three to four days before drying out and turning into scabs.
Chickenpox is more severe in adults than children and can cause serious and even fatal illness in individuals of any age with weakened immune systems.
The disease can also cause shingles in later life.