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Chickenpox outbreak declared over in Asheville
Sunday, 03 February 2019 21:24

From Staff Reports 

A chickenpox outbreak in Asheville — reported in late 2018 — officially has ended, according to the Buncombe County Health and Human Services department.

 The outbreak was traced to Asheville Waldorf School (located in West Asheville) last fall, when more than 40 area people, including 38 students, were treated for the virus.

The BCHHS declared the outbreak over as of Jan. 7, after no new cases were reported over Christmas break. But the BCHHS said it still strongly urges everyone in the Asheville community to be immunized against vaccine-preventable illnesses to avoid becoming sick, spreading illness and missing days of school and work.

The BCHHS said it is important to be aware that even healthy children and adults can develop serious complications and die from chickenpox. Another high-risk group is pregnant women who, if they become ill with chickenpox, can have pregnancy complications.

Dr. Jennifer Mullendore, Buncombe County’s medical director, said in a 2018 press release that she wants the community to be a part of the shield of protection that immunizations provide. 

“When we see high numbers 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. Unvaccinated people put others at risk, especially infants who are too young to be vaccinated or those who are medically fragile or immunocompromised,” Mullendore stated.

Chickenpox is easily passed from one person to another through the air by coughing or sneezing or through the fluid from a blister of a person who has chickenpox.

While it is usually not a serious illness, it often causes children and their parents to miss days at school and work. Most cases of chickenpox in healthy children are treated with bed rest, fluids and fever control.

Chickenpox can be more severe and cause more complications in immunocompromised persons, children younger than 1 year of age and adults. Severe complications include bacterial skin infections, blood stream infections, pneumonia, encephalitis (infection of the brain) and death.



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