Preface By Christopher Wyatt | TLB staff writer/documentary producer
This is one of the most absurd things I can think of but in checking my backlog of emails from the last several days I noticed that areas around the United States are actually freaking out over the chickenpox. All I can say is “REALLY??? It’s chickenpox for God sakes!!!” What makes it even more laughable to me is that until the mid 1990s the US did not vaccinate for chickenpox and most of the world now in 2016 sees zero need to vaccinate for the chickenpox. When did chickenpox become such an awful thing? The second MERCK and big pharma lobbyist could get it mandated and profit from this vaccine.
Not only has the chickenpox vaccine been shown to increase cases of shingles, it has been proven that having natural chickenpox actually lowers the risk of a very deadly type of brain cancer called glioma. Call me crazy but if this is not a damn good reason to take your child or teen kicking and screaming to the nearest chickenpox party I am not sure what is. How is it that we live in a world where a few itch spots scare the hell out of people, but an increased risk of cancer and shingles is perfectly acceptable? I honestly don’t get it and I worry just how bad things are going to have to get before people embrace natural immunity and understand that nature has a plan that if followed will keep us all healthy. (CW)
Michigan chickenpox cases jump 57 percent
By Garret Ellison
Health officials are encouraging Michiganders to get vaccinated for chickenpox because cases of the disease are spiking this year.
Through April, there have been 239 reported cases of the highly contagious infection, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. The majority of those infected had not been vaccinated against the disease.
That’s a 57 percent increase in cases versus this time in 2015.
The airborne disease, once a fixture of childhood, causes fever symptoms marked by a skin rash that forms small, itchy blisters that eventually scab over. Symptoms typically last a week or more. Caused by the varicella zoster virus, the disease is more severe for adults. It remains indefinitely in the body and can reactivate later in life, causing a painful condition called shingles.
Chickenpox used to be very common, but a vaccine was licensed in 1995 and health officials say there’s been a 97 percent decline in its incidence in Michigan since then. Nearly all of those infected this year had not been vaccinated.
Similar to measles, chickenpox spreads easily in schools, households, day care centers, camps and other group activity settings; especially when there are pockets of low immunization rates within a community.
Immunization against varicella and several other vaccine-preventable diseases is required for school entry in Michigan, but parents can get a non-medical waiver through a local health department after attending an educational session. Schools have the option to send infected or non-vaccinated children home for several weeks during an outbreak.
In December, officials warned of outbreaks occurring in Grand Traverse, Calhoun, Muskegon and Wayne counties that involved unvaccinated children in school settings. Several of those infected were hospitalized.
Schools in White Pigeon and Sturgis in St. Joseph County have sent students home this spring after a pair of outbreaks that began in March. Since May 1, chickenpox outbreaks have also hit schools in California and North Carolina.
“The chickenpox vaccine is safe and very effective, and is required for school and day care attendance to help prevent the spread of illness,” said Eden Wells, DHHS chief medical doctor. “It is important to know that, despite common misconceptions, illness from chickenpox can be severe and sometimes require hospitalization resulting in serious complications.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says anyone born after 1980 who hasn’t had chickenpox should also get the two-dose vaccine. Adolescents and adults are at higher risk for a serious case, as are people with weakened immune systems because of illness or medications.