Chickenpox reported at second Monroe school

MONROE — A chickenpox outbreak has hit a second Monroe elementary school.

As of Wednesday, eight cases of chickenpox have been reported at Fryelands Elementary School this fall, prompting the Snohomish Health District to order students to stay home if they haven’t been vaccinated to prevent a spread of the disease.

Families have until Friday before children will be required to stay away from the school if they are not fully vaccinated or have proof of immunity. Written proof of vaccination or immunity is required from a health-care provider.

As of Wednesday evening, the order would affect about 400 of the school’s 530 students. However, a vaccine will be available at the school today, and parents have a day to send in verification if their child is immune.

“It’s helpful because (the health district) has given families time to comply before the exclusion takes effect,” said Rosemary O’Neil, a Monroe School District spokeswoman.

Health officials hope families act by Friday, said Suzanne Pate, a health district spokeswoman.

“We have to give as much time as possible, but at the same time we have to exclude (students) to keep the disease from spreading,” Pate said.

Two weeks ago, more than half the 507 students at Salem Woods Elementary School in Monroe were ordered to stay home after a chickenpox outbreak there. The students either hadn’t had a chickenpox vaccination or didn’t have records at the school.

There have been 18 cases of chickenpox reported at Salem Woods Elementary this fall.

Chickenpox is caused by varicella zoster virus, a type of herpes virus that is highly contagious. It is often a mild illness, but can be severe in infants, pregnant women, adults and people with weakened immune systems.

In recent years, chickenpox vaccines have been required for children entering the school system. Before the vaccine, almost everyone had chickenpox by adulthood and had developed a natural immunity. More than 95 percent of American adults have already had it, according to the health district.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that children receive two doses of varicella vaccine.

The number of doses required was recently increased from one to two vaccinations after research found children needed a booster shot to be protected, health district officials said. Just three years ago, it was recommended but not required.

Students from Fryelands Elementary and elsewhere in the district can get their vaccinations from 3:30 to 7 p.m. today at the school, 15286 Fryelands Blvd. Providence Physician Group is providing the service. Vaccinations will cost $15.

Reporter Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446 or

Chickenpox vaccinations

Students from Fryelands Elementary School and elsewhere in the Monroe School District can get chickenpox vaccinations from 3:30 to 7 p.m. today at the school, 15286 Fryelands Blvd.

The Snohomish Health District has ordered Fryelands Elementary students to be vaccinated or bring proof of immunity to school by Friday or stay home until they do. There have been eight cases of chickenpox reported at the school this fall.

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