Michigan Sees Chickenpox Outbreak; Nearly 240 Children Infected Since April

The number of children infected with chickenpox in Michigan has increased this year. A news release from the Michigan Department of Health stated that there are 239 chickenpox cases through April, a 57 percent surge from the ones recorded during the same period in 2015.

Majority of the children infected with chickenpox or varicella this year weren't vaccinated, the Detroit Free Press reported. Dr. Eden Wells, the chief medical executive of the Michigan Department of Health, said the chickenpox vaccine is a necessity due to its safety and effectiveness on recipients.

Chickenpox: Signs & Symptoms

Those infected with chickenpox show symptoms including fever, loss of appetite, tiredness and extremely itchy blister-like rash spread on the body, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, listed. People who received a vaccine for chickenpox can still be infected with the disease, but the symptoms are usually milder.

Children should receive vaccination between 12 and 15 months of age. The second dose should be administered when they are four to six years old.

The effects of chickenpox can be severe for some individuals. That includes people above 12 years old, pregnant women, those who have chronic skin or lung disorders, persons who have a weak immune system and those with a fever above 102°F. Chickenpox is also more serious if a rash becomes red, warm, tender and leaks pus, which are indicators of a bacterial infection.

Parents Urged To Keep Their Kids Up-To-Date With Vaccines

Studies conducted by the CDC found that the recommended 2-dose vaccine administered to children has an 89 to 98 percent effectiveness rate in mild-to-moderate chickenpox cases, the Detroit Free Press wrote. That same dose is also 100 percent effective in the prevention of severe chickenpox.

The Michigan Department of Health has urged parents to ensure that their children have adequate vaccination against chickenpox. The same warning was issued by the state in December 2015, when chickenpox outbreaks occurred in Calhoun, Grand Traverse, Muskegon and Wayne, according to a separate report from the Detroit Free Press.

Michigan requires children to be vaccinated against chickenpox and other diseases before gaining acceptance at schools. The virus spreads through coughing, sneezing, and being in contact with chickenpox blisters.

Chickenpox Linked To Common Brain Cancer

A research conducted by scientists from the Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center at Baylor College of Medicine found that children who acquired chickenpox are less likely to develop glioma, a type of brain cancer. Gliomas are a common kind of tumor, and is difficult to extract with surgery because of its finger-like composition that slinks into the brain's healthy tissues, the John Hopkins School of Medicine wrote.

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