Chickenpox locks down San Quentin


Upon hearing that San Quentin State Prison is under medical lockdown, the horror movie scenarios start churning through our minds.

Zombie-like flesh-eating bacteria?

Alien amoeba that makes the inmates lose their hair and turn a pasty shade of green?

Whatever the storyline was in “Nightmare On Elm Street,” but placed inside a prison?

All scary movie scripts aside,¬† California’s oldest correctional facility is locked down for something potentially just as deadly: chickenpox.

Prison spokespeople tell The AP that the compound famous for housing Charles Manson has been closed off since last Friday when two inmates came down with the virus.

And this isn’t the first time that such an outbreak has struck the Marin County compound. Prison spokesman Lt. Sam Robinson said that San Quentin was last on medical lockdown last March, when at least four inmates came down with chickenpox.

Same reason for lock-down twice in the same year? Hmmm.

The precautions taken in the case of a chickenpox outbreak are definitely warranted. While 95 percent of adults have either had the disease as a child or have been inoculated, five in 100 are subject to infection and potentially serious symptoms.

The Centers for Disease Control tells us that the airborne virus spreads easily, and can cause serious illness and even death in adults and “people with weakened immune systems.” So, prison with lots of adults in close contact with each other? Recipe for a spread of sickness.

Robinson could not tell The AP when the lockdown might be lifted. At this time, only employees are allowed in and out of the facility.

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