Chickenpox virus strikes Hollywood & Southern Illinois prisons t - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Chickenpox virus strikes Hollywood & Southern Illinois prisons this December

CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - The chickenpox virus hit a Hollywood actress and two Southern Illinois prisons this December.

Actress and Director Angelina Jolie announced on YouTube on December 12 that she'd be missing several red carpet events for her new movie "Unbroken" because she has the chickenpox.

This week in Illinois, Menard Correctional Center and Pinckneyville Correctional Center went on lock down because of a chickenpox scare, according to Illinois Department of Corrections spokesperson Tom Shaer.

Shaer said that at least 5 inmates contracted the virus at Menard and Pinckneyville went on lock down for precaution reasons due to the virus.

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that nearly 20,000 people will contract the Chickenpox virus in 2014.

That number has shrunk significantly since 1995 when a widespread chickenpox vaccine became used in the U.S.

In 1995 more than 4-million-cases of chickenpox were reported, according to the CDC. Of those cases some 10,000 people were hospitalized and more than 100 people died.

Dr. Alex Garrido with the Southern Illinois Healthcare group explains that chickenpox is a serious virus.

“Pneumonia, it can cause encephalitis,  which is the inflammation of the brain and the spinal cord,” Garrido said.

As an adult, Garrido said conditions can significantly worsen.

“Once you get Chicken Pox, the virus will never leave your body," Garrido said. "It will always be there. Now it can reactivate in the form of ‘herpes zoster' of shingles.”

The CDC reports that one in three people over the age of 60 will contract the shingles virus.

“Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine is where the answer is," Garrido said.

Garrido explains that it is important to get the chickenpox vaccine when you are young.

The CDC recommends everyone over the age of 60 get the shingles vaccine.

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