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Possible chicken pox outbreak at Western State Hospital controlled quickly

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LAKEWOOD, Wash. -- Fast action may have stopped a potential chicken pox outbreak at Western State Hospital this month.

Health officials sprang to action when hundreds of patients were recently exposed to the disease.

After learning of two cases at the hospital, officials screened some 300 patients for immunity and offered those not immune a vaccine.

Western State Hospital also screened staff members and offered vaccines to workers who needed it as well.

Medical workers inside the hospital say it's those quick actions that may have stopped the illness in its tracks.

"We're not through the incubation process yet, but so far so good,” said Dr. Katherine Raymer, the hospital’s chief medical officer. “We’ve had no more patients since May 3.”

Hospital staff asked the Tacoma Pierce County Health Department and State Department of Health for support to get vaccinations ready for patients and staff just 72 hours after learning of the first chickenpox case last month.

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