Outbreaks Among Vaccinated Children
Officials wonder if its due to a new strain or ineffective vaccine...
Chicken pox outbreak
By Matt Clower, The Messenger
Troy Elementary School nurse Sarah Black should probably go ahead and get a
revolving door for her office. It would help with all the traffic coming in and
out these days.
TES is the midsts of the worst outbreak of chicken pox the school has faced in
eight years - an outbreak made more surprising because most all the affected
students have previously received chicken pox vaccinations.
Black said she could hardly believe it when the first students started showing
up in her office with the characteristic red, itchy spots.
“I was in denial at first, I said this can't possibly be chicken pox,” Black
Oh, but was it ever chicken pox, and it has spread like wildfire. Since the
first student was diagnosed in late January, over 40 students in every grade
have come down with it.
In recent years, the numbers of chicken pox cases at TES had been dramatically
reduced by the chicken pox vaccination which is now required for all incoming
students. In eight years, Black said she had seen only one student with a case.
This recent outbreak appears to be a new mutation of the virus, Black said, and
the Alabama Department of Public Health is calling it a second generation
ADPH official Peggy Searcy said the department is not officially committing on
the situation at this time, but she did confirm that the ADPH is aware of the
situation at TES and is monitoring it. She also said the ADPH was not making any
recommendations regarding a booster shot for the vaccination at this time.
Searcy said TES was the only school in the eight counties of the area ten region
to report cases of chicken pox.
TES teacher Gloria Blackmon's son Hunter is thought to be the first case in the
outbreak. She said even the doctors office was hesitant at first to believe
Hunter could have chicken pox after he'd received the vaccination.
“I called and the nurse said ‘Oh, he doesn't have chicken pox',” Blackmon said.
“But as soon as I brought him in, they said to take him out of school.”
Chicken pox is highly contagious, and actually starts becoming contagious two
weeks before the first pox appear, Black said. Infected children remain
contagious until all of the pox have dried up and scabbed over.
Until then, Black said it is imperative for parents to keep those children out
of school to avoid spreading the virus.
Black said most of the infected students are experiencing only a mild case of
chicken pox, with just a few visible spots and few students reporting a fever.
Although one more student was diagnose with chicken pox on Friday, Black said
the disease does appear to be tapering off and she hopes the impending Spring
Break holiday will give the outbreak a chance to run its course without
spreading to more students.
Other local school systems confirmed they have not yet experienced an outbreak
of chicken pox.
Dwight Ward, Pike Liberal Arts headmaster, said he was not aware of any cases of
chicken pox and reported the school was experiencing normal levels of fu and
other seasonal sickness.
Ward said because of the school's smaller size, in the past outbreaks of
sickness have spread quickly and resulted in large numbers of absences. But he
said that has not happened so far this year.
Pike County Elementary School has also been free of chicken pox so far, but is
battling traditional seasonal outbreaks of flu and stomach virus, said nurse
Vance said stomach viruses are unpredictable and difficult to prevent, but she
said flu, and even chicken pox to an extent, can be avoided by good hand
“Good hand washing is the most important thing as far as preventing sickness.
Kids come to school and pick things up off of door handles or from each other. A
lot of that ca be prevented by regular hand washing,” Vance said. “And not just
at school but at home too, A lot of people think that germs wont be as bad at
home but they are.”
Black encouraged adults to be cautious when around a child affected with chicken
pox. The same virus that causes chicken pox in a child can cause shingles in an
Black also reminded parents not to use aspirin to treat children infected with
chicken pox, as it can lead to a potently fatal complication
COLCHESTER -- State
health experts are investigating an outbreak of chicken pox in Colchester. 65
students at the Jack Jackter Elementary School got chicken pox last year. It was
one of the largest outbreaks in the state. The Centers for Disease Control is
also involved in the investigation. That's because some of the students who got
sick were vaccinated against chicken pox. The chicken pox vaccine has a
20-percent failure rate.
Elgin ISD Experiencing Chicken Pox Outbreak
Feb 20, 2006
More than 40 kids were out of school today in Elgin after an outbreak of chicken
School officials at Elgin Independent School District say on Friday they had 61
cases of chicken pox and strangely, school records show most of the kids have
already been immunized.
No other schools are affected and it's a mystery as to what is going on.
Blood testing shows this is an 'atypical' form of the disease and it's milder
than it normally is.
Chickenpox outbreak zeroes in on school
Hazel Green kids discover vaccine is no guarantee
Thursday, December 15, 2005
By PATRICIA C. McCARTER
Times Staff Writer firstname.lastname@example.org
chickenpox vaccinations are required for kindergarten through fourth-grade
students, more than 100 students at Hazel Green Elementary have missed school
over the past two months because of the highly contagious disease.
Why? The vaccine is
The federal Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one or two children in 10 who
are immunized against varicella - the scientific name for chickenpox - will
catch the virus. The good news is that those who get the vaccination usually get
a mild case, with fewer than 50 blisters and low fever.
accustomed to seeing a few cases of chickenpox, but Madison County Schools
nursing supervisor Shealy Lynn said Hazel Green's numbers seem abnormally high.
County Health Department employees visited the school Wednesday to audit
immunization records, also known as "blue slips," to figure out why that school
has been so hard hit.
are high here," said disease intervention specialist Lisa Thomason. "It's not
really that surprising that there are still cases happening. The vaccine isn't
close to being 100 percent effective.
"At least the kids
who are getting the disease aren't getting the worst case of it. Most of them
are back at school within two or three days."
The most contagious
phase of the disease occurs before the infected person knows he's sick,
according to the CDC.
Chickenpox outbreak investigated at Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau
January 20, 2006
Health officials are looking into an outbreak of chickenpox in the
Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau School District in which all except two of the 44
affected children had been vaccinated against the illness.
Dan Hopfensperger, director of the Wisconsin Immunization Program, said the
outbreak is the largest among vaccinated children he can recall in the state.
The outbreak began in mid-November at the Kindernook Learning Center, where 36
of 99 kindergartners developed chickenpox.
The Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services said it is trying to
determine why so many vaccinated students developed the illness, when health
experts rate the vaccine as from 85 percent to 97 percent effective.
"We're way above the 15 percent," Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau school nurse Barbara
Hogden said the vaccine is fragile and must be stored frozen. But she said the
infected students obtained vaccinations from a number of different providers,
and no manufacturer has reported a bad batch of vaccine.
Only one of the district's chickenpox cases cannot be traced back to the
kindergarten building, Hogden said, and that student was not vaccinated.
Chicken Pox Outbreak Raises Concern
-Rash Of New Cases Reported
By Shawn McGinnis, KTLA News
March 3, 2006, 6:06 PM PST
ORANGE COUNTY — A rash of chickenpox cases in Orange
County is prompting health officials to urge parents to get their children
Several school districts have reported a recent outbreak
of the highly infectious disease.
The virus causes blister-like rashes on the skin, usually
on the face, scalp or body. High fever, itching, dehydration or headache may
also occur. And those with weakened immune systems may have more severe
Chickenpox is generally spread from person to person
through direct contact or through the air when an infected person coughs or
Health officials urge anyone who contracts the virus to
stay home until the rash has completely crusted over, which usually occurs four
to five days after the rash begins.
Vaccination is recommended for children and adults who
have not had chickenpox.