Chickenpox outbreak in Walton grows to 32 students, unvaccinated students told not to attend


Chicken Pox on a toddler (Photo: John Kelly, Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The Northern Kentucky Health Department said Our Lady of the Sacred Heart and Assumption Academy in Walton are experiencing an outbreak that is likely chickenpox.

There are currently 32 cases of the blister-like rash presumed to be chickenpox at the school, officials said. Now, the health department is telling unvaccinated students to not attend classes until after the outbreak is over.

According to the health department, chickenpox is a vaccine-preventable illness with a blister-like rash, itching, tiredness and fever that can last 5-7 days.

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“Although we have been working with the school to contain the illnesses since February the Health Department has recently seen a concerning increase in the number of infected students at the school which has prompted us to take further control measures at the school and to make the public aware that chickenpox may be in the community,” District Director Dr. Lynne Saddler said.

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As a result of the continued increase in cases and to prevent further spread of this illness, the Northern Kentucky Health Department has said students without proof of vaccination or proof of immunity against chickenpox will not be allowed to attend school until 21 days after the onset of rash for the last ill student or staff member.

In addition, all school events and extracurricular activities involving other schools or the public will continue to be canceled until 21 days after the onset of rash for the last ill student or staff member.

The chickenpox virus spreads easily, mainly when a person touches or breathes in the virus particles that come from chickenpox blisters, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It can also spread through tiny droplets that get into the air when someone who has chickenpox breathes or talks, for example.

Chickenpox is usually mild in children and makes them extremely uncomfortable with itching, the CDC says. But the disease also can result in complications and even deaths.

The potential complications include:

Skin infections.
Dehydration (loss of body fluids).
Pneumonia (an infection in the lungs).
Encephalitis (swelling of the brain).

CDC officials say taht before a vaccine was available, about 4 million people got chickenpox each year in the United States. More than 10,500 of those people were hospitalized, and about 100 to 150 people died.

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Source:: Daily times

      

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