39ºF

Marysville school asks unvaccinated students to stay home amid chickenpox outbreak

DETROIT – Marysville High School is asking unvaccinated students to stay home while the school deals with an outbreak of chickenpox.

The St. Clair County Health Department issued letters to 37 families who they identified as higher risk, meaning unvaccinated, asking them to get vaccinated or to remain at home until further notice.

The letter reads, in part:

In accordance with Michigan Public Health Code, exposed susceptible students who cannot provide documentation of varicella immunity will be excluded from attending school, work and extracurricular activities until 21 days after the last identified case (date to be determined and dependent upon cases).

Students will be re-admitted to Marysville High School immediately upon getting vaccinated or providing St. Clair County Health Department with acceptable documentation of immunity. If the vaccine dose administered was the first varicella vaccine dose, the student may be conditionally re-admitted immediately, but the second dose of vaccine should be scheduled using the age appropriate minimal interval (3 months for persons 1-12 years of age, 28 days for persons 13 years and older). If the varicella dose administered was the second varicella dose, the student will be re-admitted immediately after vaccination.

Chickenpox is highly contagious. 

 It can cause an itchy, blister-like rash. The rash first appears on the chest, back, and face, and then spreads over the entire body, causing between 250 and 500 itchy blisters. Chickenpox can be serious, especially in babies, adolescents, adults, pregnant women, and people with a weakened immune system. The best way to prevent chickenpox is to get the chickenpox vaccine.

Chickenpox used to be very common in the United States. In the early 1990s, an average of 4 million people got chickenpox, 10,500 to 13,000 were hospitalized, and 100 to 150 died each year.

Chickenpox vaccine became available in the United States in 1995. Each year, more than 3.5 million cases of chickenpox, 9,000 hospitalizations, and 100 deaths are prevented by chickenpox vaccination in the United States.