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Chickenpox outbreak to keep 38 students home in Battle Ground

Daybreak Primary students without immunity must stay away from school starting Monday

By , Columbian Education Reporter
Published: October 19, 2018, 12:00pm

A chickenpox outbreak at Daybreak Primary School in Battle Ground will keep some students home effective Monday.

There are five confirmed cases of varicella at the campus, Battle Ground Public Schools spokeswoman Rita Sanders said Friday.

Clark County Public Health requires that students and staff who do not have documented immunity against the virus must stay home for three weeks beginning Monday, according to a letter sent to parents Thursday night. Individuals who get a vaccine or provide proof of immunity, however, can return before then.

That’s expected to keep 38 students out of class, Sanders said. There are 541 students at Daybreak Primary School.

A higher percentage of students are exempt from vaccines at the north county school than the county and state as a whole, according to the most recent data from the Department of Health. In the 2017-2018 school year, 13.2 percent of students were exempted from at least one vaccine. The majority, 11 percent, fell under the broad umbrella of personal vaccine exemptions.

For varicella specifically, 11.4 percent of students were exempt from the vaccine.

Across Clark County, 7.5 percent of students are vaccine-exempt, 5.9 have personal exemptions and 6 percent are exempt for the varicella vaccine. Statewide the numbers are smaller still: 4.9 percent total, 3.7 personal and 3.7 percent for varicella.

Families and staff can provide proof of vaccination by providing the district any of the following:

• Proof of date of birth before 1980.

• Record of at least one dose of the chickenpox vaccine verified by a licensed health care provider.

• A letter from a licensed health care provider documenting infection with and full recovery from previous chickenpox illness.

• A letter from a licensed health care provider that confirms a blood test or serology showing chickenpox immunity.

Chickenpox is caused by the highly contagious varicella zoster virus, according to Clark County Public Health. The illness is marked by an itchy rash with pink spots and tiny fluid-filled blisters, the eponymous pox. The average infected person develops between 300 and 400 pox on their body. An infected person may also have a fever and be generally fatigued.

The illness can be spread through secretions like saliva, contact with a pox or through the respiratory system.

Families who believe their child is ill with chickenpox are asked to inform the school and seek medical care.

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