State officials emphasize vaccinations following chickenpox outb - WNEM TV 5


State officials emphasize vaccinations following chickenpox outbreaks

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The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is advising parents to make sure their kids are up to date on vaccinations following recent chickenpox outbreaks.

Officials with the state say that in recent weeks outbreaks have been reported in Grand Traverse, Calhoun, Muskegon, and Wayne counties. The cases have mainly been unvaccinated children and caused several children to be hospitalized.

“Since the introduction of the chickenpox vaccine 20 years ago, the immunization has greatly reduced the incidence of illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths related to the disease. Michigan has seen a 97 percent decline in chickenpox in that time,” said Dr. Eden Wells, chief medical executive with MDHHS. “The best thing you can do to protect your loved ones and community against chickenpox is to make sure your family is immunized.”  

The chickenpox immunization is required for school entry in Michigan, but parents have the option to waive the requirement.

Also known as varicella, chickenpox is caused by a virus in the herpes virus family and is characterized by an itchy, blistery rash.  The rash may be preceded or accompanied by fever, tiredness, headache, and loss of appetite. Chickenpox is highly contagious, with the virus spreading easily through coughing, sneezing, and other contact with respiratory secretions.

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