Largest chickenpox outbreak in North Carolina

A large number of children in a North Carolina primary school have been infected and now have the varicella virus, as the health officials of the school are saying that this is the largest outbreak that they have seen ever since the varicella vaccine has been introduced 20 years ago.

According to Kare11, the local news station, this school has a large number of people that refuse to vaccinate their kids for religious reasons. 36 students have contracted the virus also known as chickenpox. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this is not a very serious illness, and 4 million Americans get infected every year, while 10,000 people visit hospitals and around 150 people die.

North Carolina has a policy that requires children to be vaccinated against, tetanus, whooping cough, MMR and other diseases but, this state can allow parents to refuse these vaccines due to religious beliefs. Most of Asheville Waldorf’s students have not been vaccinated against chicken pox, out 152 students only 40 have received the vaccine.

Susan Sullivan, who is a nurse working for the state Department of Health and Human services, told Kare11, “it’s not just about you, it’s about the people you interact with: Pregnant women, people with AIDS, people finishing chemo. They’re a part of our community, too, and we have to do what we can to protect everybody.”

The county Medical Director, Dr. Jennifer Mullendore, in a press release has said. “Two doses of varicella vaccine can offer significant protection against childhood chickenpox and shingles as an adult. When we see high number of unimmunized children and adults, we know that an illness like chickenpox can spread easily throughout the community into our playgrounds, grocery stores, and sports teams.”