Health department reports many children have yet to be immunized |

Health department reports many children have yet to be immunized

Lake Tahoe Unified schools start Sept. 11 and many school-age children have not been immunized.

Polio, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, measles, mumps, rubella, HIB, hepatitis B and chickenpox can all be prevented through vaccination. Many of these diseases are extremely dangerous but highly preventable.

“We know someone who suffered meningitis as a child,” said Allyson Tabor, El Dorado County Public Health Department nurse epidemiologist. “This is when there were no immunizations. She now has severe hearing loss.”

In 1999, there were seven confirmed cases of measles in Northern Nevada and 12 cases of tetanus in California, two of which resulted in death.

“Many of these preventable diseases can lead to such results as meningitis, hearing loss, permanent brain damage and even death,” said Valerie Rudd, public health service manager.

Students must be up to date with immunizations before they are permitted to start school.

“All school-age children, preschoolers through high schoolers, need to get immunized and they also need to do their hepatitis B series if they’ve missed that,” Tabor said. “And if you’re over 19 years of age and not eligible for one of our programs, you’d have to pay $42 per shot for the hepatitis B series. But if you get it now, before you turn 19, then you can get it for $8 per shot, or free, if you qualify.”

The El Dorado County Public Health Department is offering immunization clinics on Sept. 5 and 8 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Those who qualify can receive free shots, but all tuberculosis tests are $19. Bring all immunization records.

For information, call the health department at (530) 573-3155.

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