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CDC Responding To Reports Of Chickenpox In Individuals Staying At Portland Expo

The Maine Center for Disease Control is responding to reports of varicella, or the chickenpox virus, at the Portland Expo Center, where hundreds of asylum seekers are being housed.

The City of Portland issued a statement saying: "The City is working cooperatively with the Maine CDC following reports of chickenpox cases in individuals staying at the Expo, and is following all protocols associated with limiting further exposure. We've made sure to alert anyone who was known to have visited or volunteered at the Expo since July 26 to watch for symptoms, and to check their vaccination record with their healthcare provider."

The agency did not say how many suspected cases of chickenpox there are at the Expo.

Varicella is contagious. In a written statement, Nirav Shah, from the Maine CDC, said the best way to prevent chickenpox is with a vaccine.

Hundreds of asylum seekers have been staying at the Expo Center in Portland since mid-June, when they arrived from the U.S.-Mexico border. Due to the center’s contracts, there is an Aug. 15 deadline to move out of the Portland Expo building.