Mitchell Co. students, parents react to Chickenpox outbreak - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Mitchell Co. students, parents react to Chickenpox outbreak

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MITCHELL COUNTY, GA (WALB) - An outbreak of the Chickenpox has hit Mitchell County. It's highly unusual since most kids get vaccinated.

The health department is alerting students and parents in the school system. WALB News Ten's Tayleigh Davis talked to folks at Baconton Community Charter school.

Teachers sent students in the Mitchell County School system home with a note from the health department Tuesday. It explains the exact symptoms of Chickenpox. So far, about 30 kids ages two to 11 are home sick.

As kids run around on the playground, others are at home and unable return to school until their Chickenpox symptoms are gone. The principal at Baconton Charter School says five students were sent home. The outbreak concerns parents and students.

"I was shocked because you don't hear about that much," said student, Nicole Pollock.

So far Chickenpox has affected kids at Baconton Charter and North Mitchell County Elementary School and two day care centers in Mitchell County.

Southwest Health District Health Director, Jacqueline Grant, says her department has been investigating the outbreak all week.

"We want people to isolate themselves until after the lesions have crusted over," said Grant.

Grant says Chickenpox is highly contagious and spreads through the air and bodily fluids from a sneeze or cough. She encourages people to wash their hands often.

Symptoms may include runny nose, fever, chills, body aches, and a cough. Even though it's mostly curable, grant says it can be especially harmful to pregnant women, the elderly, or people with a weak immune system.

"For them ,a case of the chicken pox could be life threatening," Grant noted.

For parents who still need to vaccinate their children, the first dose needs to given between 12 to 15 months old. The second dose should be between four and six years old. It may be given earlier it at least three months after the full dose.

People 13 and older, who have never had chickenpox, should get two doses at least 28 days apart. Anyone who isn't fully vaccinated, and never had Chickenpox, should receive one or two doses of the vaccine. Timing of the doses depends on the patient's age. Ask your doctor. A combination vaccine called MMRV contains both chickenpox and MMR vaccines. It may be given instead of two individual vaccines to people who are 12 years old and younger.

Learn more by visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. School officials are still looking through medical records to try to figure out how so many kids got Chickenpox.

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