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Tag Archive | "MDHHS"

MDHHS reminds parents spring chicks may carry Salmonella


N-chicks

LANSING, Mich. – Health experts at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services are warning parents about the potential for baby poultry to carry Salmonella. A common bacteria found in the droppings of poultry, Salmonella can cause illness in people. Salmonella germs contaminate feathers, feet and beaks of birds, as well as cages, coops and the environment where the birds live and roam. “Washing your hands thoroughly before and after handling chicks and other poultry protects both you and your family from the risk of Salmonella, and also helps keep the birds healthy,” said MDHHS Chief Medical Executive Dr. Eden Wells. “Even birds appearing cute, healthy, and clean can carry bacteria that can make people sick.”

In 2016, there were nine nationwide outbreaks of Salmonella illness linked to contact with live poultry, causing illness in 911 people in 48 states. Michigan reported 55 cases, of which almost half (45 percent) were in children.

During spring, live baby poultry are often displayed in stores in a way that children may be able to reach and touch the birds or areas where the birds are contained. This is one way people become exposed to harmful bacteria that leads to illness. People may also obtain birds through the mail by placing an order directly with a hatchery that supplies baby birds to raise for food or as pets.

Salmonella can cause diarrhea, vomiting, fever and/or abdominal cramps lasting four to seven days or more. Salmonella infections can be especially serious for the very young, the very old, and those with weak immune systems.

Baby poultry have special requirements for warmth and protection. Backyard flock owners may not be aware of the risk of Salmonella from baby poultry and consequently, may keep the birds inside their home. Potential poultry owners should plan ahead to provide a proper space that is safe for the birds and for the people in the household. To address this, backyard flock owners should give live poultry their own space to live, outside of the home. People should follow these recommendations to protect themselves and others:

  • Children younger than five years old, older adults or people with weak immune systems should not handle or touch chicks, ducklings or other poultry because they are more likely to become severely ill.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after touching the birds or anything in their environment. Adults should supervise hand washing for young children.
  • Use hand sanitizer until you can wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Always keep poultry away from areas where food or drink is prepared, served or stored, such as kitchens or outdoor patios.
  • Do not kiss the chicks.
  • Do not put anything to or touch your mouth, eat or drink after handling poultry.
  • Do not keep live poultry inside the house where people live, eat or sleep.
  • Do not give live baby poultry as gifts to young children.

Stay outdoors when cleaning any equipment associated with raising or caring for poultry, such as cages, feed, water containers and other materials.

For more information, visit http://www.cdc.gov/features/salmonellababybirds/.

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Two pediatric flu deaths confirmed in Michigan


 

First of the 2016-2017 season 

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services recently confirmed the first two influenza-associated pediatric deaths of the 2016-2017 flu season. Influenza claims the lives of children every year across the United States, which is why MDHHS is reminding residents that it’s not too late to get vaccinated for protection this season.

The reported deaths involve one child from Kalamazoo County, and one from northern Michigan in District Health Department 10, which includes 10 northern Michigan counties.

Although this flu season has been moderate in Michigan so far, flu viruses are circulating in the community and can cause serious illness, hospitalization, and death. MDHHS strongly recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get a seasonal flu vaccine.

“The flu vaccine this year is a good match to those viruses circulating in our communities, meaning it offers more protection than it may have in recent years,” said Dr. Eden Wells, chief medical executive for MDHHS. “It is not too late to get vaccinated. And remember, if you or your child is sick, stay home to help protect others.”

More than three quarters of the positive influenza specimens confirmed by MDHHS Bureau of Laboratories this flu season have been an H3N2 virus. This virus can cause severe flu infections in children, as well as in young- and middle-aged adults. Flu vaccine is the best way to prevent getting the flu and can also reduce the severity of flu illness.

Vaccine is especially important for persons at increased risk for complications from flu, including children, adults aged 65 years and older, persons of any age with underlying medical conditions, and pregnant women. Children less than 6 months of age are too young to be vaccinated and need to be protected by vaccination of their close contacts, including parents, siblings, grandparents, child care workers, and healthcare personnel.

In the 2015-2016 flu season, only 42.2 percent of Michigan residents were vaccinated against flu, putting Michigan in 42nd place in the country. MDHHS urges residents to make sure they protect themselves and their families against getting flu this season.

There is still plenty of flu vaccine available. To find flu vaccine near you, call your healthcare provider, local health department, or check the Health Map Vaccine Finder at http://flushot.healthmap.org. For more information about the flu, visit www.michigan.gov/flu.

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Make Zika virus precautions a part of your winter travel plans


 

MDHHS confirms 69 cases of Zika virus among Michigan travelers 

For many Michigan residents, the winter months often include travel to warmer climates. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is urging travelers to protect themselves from Zika virus while travelling to places with active Zika transmission. Zika virus is spread to people primarily through the bite of infected Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes, which have not been found in Michigan, but are common in tropical areas and some parts of the United States.

This year, the CDC is making it possible for you to get travel updates about the Zika virus on the go. By texting PLAN to 855-255-5606, you’ll receive helpful tips on how to:

  • Pack and plan for your trip.
  • Stay protected on your trip.
  • Stay healthy when you return home.

“Before you travel, find out if Zika virus is a risk at your planned destination,” said Dr. Eden Wells, chief medical executive with the MDHHS. “Pregnant women and couples who are planning to conceive in the near future should avoid nonessential travel to areas with active Zika virus transmission because infection during pregnancy is linked to serious birth defects and miscarriage. Travelers can prevent Zika virus infection by taking precautions to avoid mosquito bites.”

People who travel to an area with Zika should:

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Stay and sleep in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens.
  • If your plans include travel to more remote areas, take along a permethrin-treated bed net to use while sleeping.
  • Use EPA-registered insect repellents with one of the following active ingredients: DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus or paramenthane-diol, or 2-undecanone.

To date, Michigan has confirmed 69 cases of Zika virus disease in travelers, including three pregnant women. In the U.S., over 1,200 pregnant women have been identified with possible Zika infection, resulting in 41 Zika-affected infants to date. MDHHS is participating in the U.S. Zika Pregnancy Registry, an effort to learn more about the effects of Zika virus infection during pregnancy.

All of the Zika cases in Michigan are travel related. While the virus is primarily transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito, it’s important that residents of reproductive age are aware of the risks associated with sexual transmission of Zika virus. Zika can be spread through sex without a condom. Most cases of sexual transmission have involved people who had symptoms of Zika virus infection. However, recent evidence suggests that asymptomatic males may be capable of transmitting Zika virus to their sex partners.

There is currently no vaccine or treatment for Zika.

Zika virus illness is typically mild. The most common symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes) lasting for several days to a week after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Zika has also been linked to Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), an uncommon condition of the nervous system following infections.

Zika virus is an emerging disease and recommendations are changing as new information becomes available. The CDC currently recommends the following for travelers:

  • Pregnant women should not travel to areas with active Zika transmission. If they must travel, they should take precautions to prevent mosquito bites.
  • For non-pregnant women who travel to areas with active Zika transmission, it is recommended they prevent pregnancy for at least eight weeks from symptom onset (if ill) or last possible exposure (if illness does not develop).
  • For men who return from travel, it is recommended they use condoms and avoid conception for at least six months, regardless of whether they develop an illness consistent with Zika virus disease.
  • Men who have been in an area with active Zika virus transmission and have a pregnant partner should either use condoms the right way every time they have sex, or not have sex for the duration of the pregnancy.

MDHHS is working closely with the CDC to find additional Zika cases in returning travelers or their partners, and is coordinating with local health departments to enhance mosquito surveillance programs.

Additionally, the MDHHS laboratory has added capacity to test for Zika infection to help improve public health response time. For the most current information about Zika, visit www.cdc.gov/zika.

Statewide case counts and Michigan-specific information can be found on the MDHHS Zika webpage www.michigan.gov/zika. MDHHS will provide updates on the total number of cases statewide, including the number of pregnant women. Additional information about the cases will not be made available due to health privacy concerns.

National statistics about pregnancies and pregnancy outcomes are available on the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/pregnancy-outcomes.html.

For information about Zika in a specific Michigan county, contact the local health department.

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MDHHS reporting an  increase in pertussis, recommends vaccination


HEA-Pertussis

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is supporting the Oakland County Health Division following an increase in the number of identified pertussis cases, commonly referred to as whooping cough.

“Pertussis is a contagious disease that easily spreads between people and can be difficult to diagnose,” said Dr. Eden Wells, chief medical executive for the MDHHS. “We support the proactive efforts of the Oakland County Health Division in ensuring residents are aware of this increase and the steps they can take to protect themselves and their children.”

Anyone exposed to pertussis and displaying symptoms should be evaluated by a doctor to determine if antibiotics are needed. Infants younger than 12 months are at greatest risk. Infants and children who have not been fully vaccinated against pertussis are at a higher risk of developing severe illness. To be fully immunized, doses are given at 2, 4, 6, and 15 months. The last dose is given at 4 years old.

Pertussis is a very contagious disease that usually starts with cold-like symptoms and maybe a mild cough or fever. After 1 to 2 weeks, severe coughing can begin. Pertussis can cause violent and rapid coughing, over and over, until the air is gone from the lungs and people are forced to inhale with a loud “whooping” sound. In infants, the cough can be minimal or not even there. Other symptoms include:

  • Runny nose
  • Nasal congestion
  • Sneezing
  • Red, watery eyes
  • Mild fever
  • Dry cough
  • Vomiting after coughing fits

People infected with pertussis can spread the disease by coughing or sneezing in close contact with others who breathe in the bacteria. Pertussis is most contagious during the first two weeks of illness.

Infants are at highest risk of severe disease and death; older siblings and adults often are the source.

Infants and children should receive pertussis vaccine series (DTaP) as per the U.S. recommended childhood immunization schedule. All doses should be given as close to the recommended ages as possible. A pertussis vaccine booster dose (Tdap) is recommended for adolescents and adults, and is especially important for those in contact with infants. Current recommendations call for a single lifetime Tdap booster dose with the following exception: a dose of Tdap is recommended for pregnant females in each pregnancy between weeks 27 and 36.

For more information about pertussis, visit www.cdc.gov/pertussis.

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Provide safe sleep apace for baby during holiday travel 


Be sure to have a safe place for your baby to sleep when traveling. An adult bed, like this one, is not safe.

Be sure to have a safe place for your baby to sleep when traveling. An adult bed, like this one, is not safe.

The holidays are a busy time of year, often spent traveling away from home. For families with babies, travel can be especially hectic when trying to remember all of the necessities. One item to put at the top of your list is a safe space for baby to sleep when you’re away from home.

To protect babies this holiday season, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is reminding parents and caregivers to plan ahead and make sure there is always a safe space for baby to sleep—an approved crib, bassinet or pack and play.

“It’s important that everyone caring for the baby, including grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles, knows how to put a baby to sleep safely. If everyone knows the simple steps to safe sleep, we can all do our part in preventing an infant death,” said MDHHS Director Nick Lyon.

Tragically, a baby dies nearly every other day in Michigan while sleeping in an adult bed, armchair or couch; with pillows or blankets; or with adults or other children. These deaths are 100 percent preventable with a safe sleep environment.

Michigan families are encouraged to follow these tips for safe sleep during every nap and nighttime routine:

  • Place your baby on their back, in a crib, bassinet or pack and play, with nothing else in their sleep environment.
  • Plan ahead and take a portable crib with you when traveling.
  • Use a firm mattress with a tightly fitted sheet.
  • Keep baby’s sleep space clutter free—no pillows, blankets or toys.
  • Avoid covering baby’s head or overheating. Instead of a blanket, consider using a sleepsack, wearable blanket or footed sleeper to keep baby warm.
  • Remind everyone who cares for your baby, including babysitters and family members, how to keep baby safe while sleeping.

You can make sure every baby is sleeping safe this holiday season. Learn more at www.michigan.gov/safesleep.

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State confirms case of Rocky Mountain spotted fever 


Residents reminded to protect against all tick-borne illness 

LANSING, Mich. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has confirmed a case of Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) in a child in Cass County. This is the first confirmed case of RMSF contracted in Michigan since 2009.

RMSF is a tick-borne disease caused by the bacterium Rickettsia rickettsii, and can be fatal if not treated promptly and correctly, even in previously healthy people. Symptoms typically include fever, abdominal pain, vomiting and muscle pain. A characteristic rash may develop a few days later. The rash typically consists of small, flat, pink, non-itchy spots on the wrists, forearms, and ankles that spreads to include the trunk, and sometimes the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. However, some people never develop the rash, or the rash may have an atypical appearance.

“Like all tick-borne illnesses, the best way to protect yourself against Rocky Mountain spotted fever is to prevent tick bites,” said Dr. Eden Wells, chief medical executive of the MDHHS. “Let your doctor know right away if you develop signs of illness such as fever, rash, or body aches in the days after a tick bite or potential exposure. Early detection and treatment are essential to preventing serious health complications.”

RMSF can be challenging to diagnose because it can mimic other common diseases. Early treatment is essential to preventing serious complications, including death. If RMSF if suspected, the antibiotic doxycycline is the first line treatment for both adults and children, and should be initiated immediately.

There are a number of ticks in the United States that can transmit RMSF including the American dog tick, Dermacentor variabilis, which is the most common tick encountered in Michigan. Other ticks that transmit the disease outside of Michigan are the Rocky Mountain wood tick, Dermacentor andersoni, and the brown dog tick, Rhipecephalus sanguineus.

Residents can protect themselves by using the following tips to prevent tick bites:

• Avoiding tick-infested areas. This is especially important in the spring and summer in Michigan. If you are in tick infested areas, walk in the center of trails to avoid contact with overgrown grass, brush, and leaf litter at trail edges. Dogs and cats can come into contact with ticks outdoors and bring them into the home, so using tick prevention products on pets is recommended.

• Using insect repellent. Apply repellent containing DEET (20-30 percent) or Picaridin on exposed skin. You can also treat clothes (especially pants, socks, and shoes) with permethrin, which kills ticks on contact or buy clothes that are pre-treated. Permethrin can also be used on tents and some RMSF Michigan Case camping gear. Do not use permethrin directly on skin. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when applying any repellents.

• Bathing or showering. Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors (preferably within two hours) to wash off and more easily find ticks that are crawling on you. Ticks can get a ride indoors on your clothes. After being outdoors, dry clothing should be tumble-dried in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks. If the clothes are damp, additional time may be needed. If the clothes require washing first, hot water is recommended. The clothes should be warm and completely dry when finished.

• Performing daily tick checks. Always check for ticks on yourself and your animals after being outdoors, even in your own yard. Inspect all body surfaces carefully, and remove attached ticks with tweezers. Grasp the tick firmly and as closely to the skin as possible. With a steady motion, pull the tick’s body away from the skin. Do not be alarmed if the tick’s mouthparts remain in the skin. Cleanse the area with an antiseptic.

For more information about RMSF, visit http://www.cdc.gov/rmsf/index.html. Additional tips on tick bite prevention can be found on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at http://www.cdc.gov/ticks/avoid/index.html.

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Salmonella infections linked to exposure to live poultry 


N-Salmonella-Spring-chicksThe Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is reporting an increase in Salmonella infections, or salmonellosis, among people who have had contact with live baby poultry. Since March 2, 2016, there have been 20 cases of salmonellosis with live chick or duckling exposure reported throughout the state; these numbers are expected to rise. Six individuals (30 percent) were hospitalized and the reported cases are associated with individuals ranging from younger than 12 months to 70 years of age.

“While raising baby chicks and having fresh eggs can be fun and educational, poultry owners should be aware that chickens and other birds can carry germs that can impact human health,” said Dr. Eden Wells, MDHHS chief medical executive.

Symptoms of salmonellosis include diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and abdominal cramps. Sometimes a severe infection occurs and the person needs to be hospitalized. Salmonella can spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and other body sites and can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics.

“Live baby poultry can carry Salmonella and still look healthy. Poultry do not get sick like people do from the bacteria,” said Dr. James Averill, state veterinarian, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. “This is why it’s so important for people handling baby chicks and poultry to practice good personal biosecurity such as handwashing because the bacteria may be present.”

Local health departments (LHDs) are playing a critical role in this outbreak investigation. Investigators from several LHDs with salmonellosis cases have visited the feed and farm stores to collect environmental samples for testing in jurisdictions where ill residents purchased baby poultry. These environmental samples have been tested at the MDHHS Bureau of Laboratories and a number of samples are positive for Salmonella; some of which match the outbreak strain. Testing and a traceback investigation are still in process. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been notified.

People become infected with Salmonella when they handle young poultry or their cages and coops. Germs can be found on the hands, shoes, and clothing of those who handle the birds or work or play in areas where the birds live and roam. Young children are especially at risk for illness because their immune systems are still developing.

Here are some important actions you and your family can take to protect yourselves from a Salmonella infection:

  • Wash hands vigorously with soap and water immediately after touching poultry or anything in their environment, such as cages, coops, or bedding.
  • Adults should supervise hand washing for young children after they have held baby poultry or touched anything in the bird’s environment.
  • Live poultry should be kept in their own place outside the home.
  • The CDC recommends children under the age of five, older adults, or people who are immune compromised should not handle or touch chicks, ducklings, or other live poultry.

If you suspect that you or your child has a Salmonella infection, contact your doctor or healthcare provider immediately.

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Michiganders reminded that they can prevent child abuse


April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

Preventing child abuse is a community responsibility that needs

involvement from all Michiganders, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says.

During April, which is Child Abuse Prevention Month, MDHHS is reminding people that they can help protect children from abuse and neglect. “Michigan’s children can be protected through the power of one person, one community, one dollar or one action,” said Michael Foley, executive director of the Children’s Trust Fund, a nonprofit within MDHHS to prevent child abuse and neglect.

Gov. Rick Snyder has proclaimed this month as Child Abuse Prevention Month in

Michigan, making it the 32nd year that April has had that official designation.

Michigan had 23,813 confirmed cases of child abuse or neglect in fiscal year 2015.

Residents can prevent abuse by working as a community to create healthy environments for raising children, Foley said. They can also promote preventive factors to strengthen families—including family resiliency, social support systems, nurturing and attachment and knowledge of parenting and child development. Or they can donate money to prevention efforts and report suspected abuse or neglect using an anonymous state hotline that is answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The toll-free number in Michigan is 1-855-444-3911. The hotline is available to everyone in Michigan, including the general public and mandatory reporters such as teachers and health professionals who are required to report suspected child abuse or neglect.

Tips from the public are crucial in identifying situations in which children are being harmed or are at risk,” said Steve Yager, executive director of the MDHHS Children’s Services Agency. “Once we are alerted, we can take action to provide services to families to keep them together safely or, when necessary, petition courts to remove children from unsafe homes.”

For more information on the Children’s Trust Fund, including how to donate online or on your Michigan tax form, visit www.michigan.gov/PreventChildAbuse.

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MDHHS reports first pediatric flu death of season; Urges individuals to get vaccinated


From the MDHHS

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services confirmed this week that the first influenza-associated pediatric death of the 2015-2016 flu season has been reported in Michigan. This is an unfortunate reminder of how serious influenza can be, and MDHHS is reminding residents that it is not too late to get vaccinated for flu this season.

The reported death was a school-aged child from the Southeast region of Michigan. Although this flu season has been relatively mild in Michigan so far, flu viruses are circulating in the community and can cause serious illness, hospitalization, and death. MDHHS strongly recommends that everyone aged 6 months and older get a seasonal flu vaccine.

Nearly three quarters of the positive influenza specimens confirmed by MDHHS Bureau of Laboratories this flu season have been the 2009 H1N1 virus. This virus can cause severe flu infections in children and in young- and middle-aged adults. The 2015-2016 flu vaccines are a very good match to the flu viruses that are circulating nationally. Flu vaccine is the best way to prevent getting the flu and can also reduce the severity of flu illness.

Although flu vaccine is recommended for everyone aged 6 months and older, vaccine is especially important for persons at increased risk for complications from flu, including children, adults aged 65 years and older, persons of any age with underlying medical conditions, and pregnant women. Children less than 6 months of age are too young to be vaccinated and need to be protected by vaccination of their close contacts, including parents, siblings, grandparents, child care workers, and healthcare personnel.

We need to do everything we can to prevent pediatric deaths from influenza, and flu is a vaccine-preventable disease,” said Dr. Eden Wells, Chief Medical Executive for the MDHHS. “Vaccine is the best way to protect against getting the flu, and there is still time to get vaccinated this flu season.”

In the 2014-2015 flu season, only 44 percent of Michigan residents were vaccinated against flu, putting Michigan in 40th place in the country. MDHHS urges residents to make sure they protect themselves and their families against getting flu this season.

There is still plenty of flu vaccine available. To find flu vaccine near you, call your healthcare provider, local health department, or check the Health Map Vaccine Finder at http://flushot.healthmap.org. For more information about the flu, visit www.michigan.gov/flu.

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State officials emphasize chickenpox vaccinations following outbreaks


 

From Michigan Dept. of Health and Human Services

Following recent reports of varicella outbreaks around the state, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is advising parents to make sure their children are up to date on vaccinations against the disease, also known as chickenpox.

Outbreaks have been reported in recent weeks in Grand Traverse, Calhoun, Muskegon, and Wayne counties, and have involved mainly unvaccinated children in school settings. Several of the cases that have been reported were hospitalized.

“Since the introduction of the chickenpox vaccine 20 years ago, the immunization has greatly reduced the incidence of illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths related to the disease. Michigan has seen a 97 percent decline in chickenpox in that time,” said Dr. Eden Wells, chief medical executive with MDHHS. “The best thing you can do to protect your loved ones and community against chickenpox is to make sure your family is immunized.”

Optimal protection in a community occurs when everyone who can be vaccinated, is vaccinated.

Immunization against varicella and several other vaccine-preventable diseases is required for school entry in Michigan. However, parents have the option to waive the requirement through their local health department.

Also known as varicella, chickenpox is caused by a virus in the herpes virus family and is characterized by an itchy, blistery rash. The rash may be preceded or accompanied by fever, tiredness, headache, and loss of appetite. Chickenpox is highly contagious, with the virus spreading easily through coughing, sneezing, and other contact with respiratory secretions. Like other herpes-family viruses, this virus has the capability to remain in the body indefinitely as a

latent infection and reactivate later in life. When the chickenpox virus reactivates it causes a painful condition called shingles, also known as zoster.

Chickenpox can be variable, ranging from mild with few “pox” lesions to very severe illness requiring hospitalization. Complications such as pneumonia, bacterial infections, and meningitis are more likely in adolescent and adult age groups. Before the licensure and routine use of the vaccine, there were an estimated 4 million cases annually, with about 11,000 hospitalizations and an average of about 100 chickenpox-related deaths each year in the United States.

Studies have shown the recommended 2-dose series given in childhood is somewhere between 89 percent and 98 percent effective in preventing any mild-to-moderate chickenpox disease and 100 percent effective in preventing severe chickenpox.

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