Students diagnosed with chicken pox at Hoquiam High

Multiple students at Hoquiam High School have contracted chickenpox, according to a letter to parents from Principal Brock Maxfield.

In the letter, Maxfield urges parents to report cases of chickenpox, also known as varicella, to the school’s nurse, and to keep students at home if they are sick with it.

He adds that “most students now are vaccinated with at least one dose of varicella vaccine, but because one dose of the vaccine is 80 to 85 percent effective for preventing chickenpox, it is not unusual to see breakthrough disease.”

Kristina Alnajjar, a public health manager at Grays Harbor Public Health and Social Services, said her group isn’t sure what caused the increase in chicken pox. She added that it’s beneficial for students to get two vaccines for varicella, as the second shot can make it less likely to contract it, and make it less severe.

“If you’ve had two vaccines, and you contract vericella, you would have a really light case of it,” said Alnajjar.

At this point, Alnajjar said the spike in chicken pox is “not huge.”

“We hope it stays small because of herd immunity, and that people got their vaccines,” she said.

The school’s nurse Rhianna Culican is available at 360-581-5905 from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on school days for parents who haven’t reported their children’s chicken pox.