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U.S. student banned by school after refusing chickenpox vaccination develops virus

09 May 2019

A Kentucky teenager who sued the Northern Kentucky Health Department after was banned from school for refusing chickenpox vaccination amid an outbreak, has now caught chickenpox.

Christopher Wiest, the family's attorney, said that the family deeply holds its religious beliefs.

Kunkel, a senior who plays on the school's basketball team, sued the health department in the Boone County Circuit Court, because they wouldn't let him play basketball, CBS affiliate WKYT reports.

Both parties still stand by their initial stances - Mr Weist said "the ban was stupid", while health officials claimed he was "downplaying the dangers of the chickenpox".

"About half my clients have come down with it since we filed the case", Wiest told the Cincinnati Enquirer.

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Kunkel argued in the suit that he was being discriminated against because his religious beliefs do not allow chickenpox vaccinations.

Mr Kunkel, from Kentucky, made headlines in the United States last month after he took legal action against his school, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart/Assumption Academy, for barring unimmunised students following an outbreak of chickenpox which affected at least 30 pupils. "We told the Court on April 1 that the ban was not appropriate because it did nothing to prevent the spread of chickenpox, and would merely turn a few weeks of chickenpox cases into months of chickenpox cases". After Kunkel sued, a judge upheld the health department ruling.

Kunkel has been out of school since mid-March, Wiest said. Kunkel, who is unvaccinated, was barred from playing basketball as part of the ban.

"Encouraging the spread of an acute infectious disease in a community demonstrates a callous disregard for the health and safety of friends, family, neighbours, and unsuspecting members of the general public", the department said in a statement.

Barring students from attending school and after-school activities can help prevent the spread of the disease. "Our first concern is always protection of the public health and implementing reasonable, medically-approved control measures that are created to safeguard our region's population, including those who are most vulnerable to the threat of infectious disease".

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The virus is a high contagious illness that can cause itchy, blister-like rash on patients that first appears on the chest, back and face.

"Wiest's comments are dismissive of the severity of this virus, and his recent announcement that he is advising his clients to actively contract the virus so that they can become individually immune to it is deeply concerning".

Wiest told NBC News that the Kunkel family regrets nothing.

The Northern Kentucky Health Department seems to agree that Wiest is being idiotic.

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U.S. student banned by school after refusing chickenpox vaccination develops virus