Asheville is experiencing one of the state's worst chickenpox outbreaks in more than two decades. The virus has taken hold at a school where many parents seek religious exemptions from vaccine requirements.
Officials say that as of Friday, 36 children have contracted chickenpox at the Asheville Waldorf School.
The Asheville Citizen-Times reports more than two-thirds of the school's 152 students haven't received the chickenpox vaccine, which became available in the U.S. in 1995. The school's website says it enrolls children from early childhood through sixth grade.
Buncombe County Department of Health and Human Services' Dr. Jennifer Mullendore says the outbreak should cause concern. She tells the newspaper that while the virus isn't serious for most people, it can cause hospitalization for some children.
Mullendore says health care providers have for years recommended all children who have healthy immune systems should be vaccinated.