Cases of chickenpox in Michigan jump by over 50%

As of the end of April, there have been 239 cases of chickenpox in Michigan. That number constitutes a 57 percent increase when compared to the same time span in 2015, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

The airborne disease that incites fever and an infamous, itchy skin rash was once a sort of childhood rite of passage, but its prevalence has declined significantly since a chickenpox vaccine was licensed in 1995.

The recent spike in cases has pushed the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to encourage Michiganders to get vaccinated.

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"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, MD, chief medical executive of MDHHS. "It is important to know that, despite common misconceptions, illness from chickenpox can be severe and sometimes require hospitalization resulting in serious complications."

In Michigan, virtually all of the cases of chickenpox related to outbreaks in the state occurred in unvaccinated individuals.

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