Increase in chickenpox cases in Albuquerque area

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — State health officials say there's an increase in chickenpox cases among school-aged children in the Albuquerque area over the past few weeks.

The New Mexico Department of Health has investigated eight reported cases since Feb. 3.

That's compared to three total cases reported in the same age group during the first two months of last year.

Officials say the children in seven of the eight cases had not received two doses of varicella vaccine.

Chickenpox is caused by the varicella-zoster virus and is a highly contagious disease.

It causes a blister-like rash, itching, tiredness and fever.

The disease spreads easily from infected people to others who have never had chickenpox or received the chickenpox vaccine.

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