12/02/11 A chicken pox outbreak that hit the Union-North School Corporation last week seems to be under control. When a total of eight cases were confirmed, the school administrators, Marshall County Health Department, and the Saint Joseph County Health Department personnel immediately set up vaccinations clinic on Tuesday and Wednesday of last week. All in all, some 162 students and staff were vaccinated. The two schools, LaVille Elementary andLaVilleJr.-Sr.High Schoolare in different townships, so both Health Departments were involved. Additional vaccinations were given atSaint JosephHigh Schooland at the Health Departments..
LaVille Elementary Principal John Farthing had been in contact with the health departments after the first three cases were noticed.
LaVilleSchoolnurse, Lisa Aschenbrenner, explained that the requirements for vaccinations had changed. In the past, students in kindergarten, first grade, and sixth grade had to have a total of two chicken pox vaccinations. Those students in second through fifth grade only had to have one. However those requirements have been changed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. All students in grades K-6 must receive two vaccinations.
When the outbreak was reported, school personnel spent hours on Monday night notifying parents of children who needed a vaccinations before they could return to classes.
Marshall County Health Department nurse Susan Lechlitner said there were staff members who were given vaccinations in cases where it was not known if the vaccinations had been completed and there were not records or parents to confirm. She said, “Secondary infections are a real concern with chicken pox especially in older people and infants. “ She added, “A person can be contagious one day prior to a breakout.”
Lechlitner said all of the vaccinations were provided by the State ofIndiana.
Lechlitner praised the efforts of the schools involved. She said, “We got fantastic cooperation from the school.” “It was totally up to their staff members to identify the students and their needs.” she said.
According to Lechlitner, the vaccinations were completed within two and one-half hours after they opened the clinics. There were four nurses at LaVille Elementary and two at theJr.-Sr.High Schoolgiving the vaccinations.
Union-North Interim Superintendent Julie Lauck said, “I was very pleased with the way everything was handled. Everything was well under control.” She said she gives credit to the nursing staff, administrators, and the Health Departments for their quick response.
Lechlitner said there have been no other outbreaks reported inMarshallCounty.
Carol Anders Correspondent