News From Terre Haute, Indiana

November 14, 2012

Chickenpox outbreak in Parke County

Sue Loughlin
The Tribune-Star

PARKE COUNTY — Montezuma Elementary School in Parke County has had eight confirmed cases of chickenpox, considered an outbreak, according to Leonard Orr, superintendent of Southwest Parke Community Schools.

Shot clinics have been scheduled today for both that school and Rosedale Elementary. The clinics will begin at 7:30 a.m. About 140 elementary students at the two schools need to be immunized, Orr said.

Starting today, all students, faculty and staff — including those at Riverton-Parke Junior/Senior High — must be optimally immunized or they will be excluded for 21 days, Orr said. The requirement affects faculty and staff born in 1980 or later.

Optimal immunization means individuals who have had one dose need a second. If they haven’t been immunized, they need at least one dose.

Orr didn’t anticipate too many students at the secondary level would be affected, although there are a few who have religious objections to the immunizations.

All three schools in the district are affected because of potential interaction between students, including on bus routes. Also, fifth- and sixth-graders at the two elementary schools recently had a basketball game.

The district has had a conference call with the Indiana Department of Health.

The shot clinics will be conducted by the Parke County Health Office, with assistance from the state. Letters have been sent to parents and staff also have been notified.

Montezuma had six preschool children and two third-graders with confirmed cases of chickenpox, Orr said.

Students and staff won’t face exclusion if they have immunization records showing they’re fully vaccinated, or if they have documentation they’ve already had chickenpox.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or sue.loughlin@tribstar.com.