Summit County health department investigates chickenpox outbreak |

Summit County health department investigates chickenpox outbreak

The Summit County Public Health Department announced Tuesday, Nov. 16, that it has identified a “cluster” of chickenpox cases, with 10 cases reported since August. Most of the cases are among children who go to school in Summit County and have not received the chickenpox vaccine.

The chickenpox vaccine is commonly given to children in two doses, and students in Colorado must receive both doses of the vaccine or have a signed exemption form in school records to attend school.

The news release from the department described chickenpox as a “very contagious disease” that is spread from person to person by coughing, sneezing or touching the fluid from a chickenpox lesion. Symptoms include an itchy and blister-like rash, fever, fatigue and loss of appetite. The virus is not usually serious but can cause severe illness in certain populations, such as infants, according to the release.

Notifications have been sent to parents of students who might have been exposed to chickenpox at Summit Middle School and Dillon Valley Elementary, and parents of unvaccinated children who might have been exposed have been contacted by phone.

Summit County health officials expect high vaccination rates locally will help curb the spread, as 91% of Dillon Valley Elementary students and 95% of Summit Middle School students are vaccinated against chickenpox.

The release encouraged anyone not yet vaccinated against chickenpox to call their health care provider or pharmacy. Children or adults who are uninsured or have Medicaid can get the vaccine from Summit County Public Health. The release noted that there is a $15 administration fee that can be waived for those who want the vaccine but cannot afford the fee.

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