Massachusetts To Require
School/Day Care Chicken
Pox Vaccine

BOSTON ( -- Massachusetts has joined the District of Columbia in requiring the chicken pox vaccine for children entering both school and day care.
By the 1999 school year, all Bay State kindergartners and 7th graders will have to be vaccinated against the disease unless they have a religious or medical exemption.
Last year, a chicken pox outbreak in a city day care center left several children sick. Two were hospitalized after developing streptococcal A infections, also known as flesh-eating bacteria.
One child was disfigured by surgery removing the infection and had to have further reconstructive surgery. Worried public health officials stepped up their efforts to vaccinate children against the disease.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported recently that chicken pox was the underlying cause of death in an average of 43 children a year and caused the hospitalization of at least 10,000 children annually.
Three other states -- Maryland, Oregon and Oklahoma -- require children to be vaccinated against chicken pox before entering day care and are considering a school requirement. Connecticut, Texas, Michigan and Florida are working on enacting regulations for chicken pox vaccinations.

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