(MSN) – A chickenpox outbreak at a private school now ranks as North Carolina's largest since a vaccine for the virus became available more than 20 years ago, health officials say.
As of Friday, 36 students at Asheville Waldorf School had contracted the varicella virus, known to most as chickenpox. The school has one of the highest vaccination religious exemption rates in the state.
The viral infection manifests in an itchy rash in most cases and is not typically life-threatening. But the outbreak at Asheville Waldorf should cause concern, said Dr. Jennifer Mullendore of Buncombe County Department of Health and Human Services.
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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, chickenpox is particularly dangerous to infants, pregnant women those with compromised immune systems, such as people who are HIV positive or coming out of cancer treatment.