CHICKENPOX IN ASHEVILLE


Part 1




Here is a reprise of Waldorf Watch news coverage dealing directly with the chickenpox epidemic at Asheville Waldorf School. The outbreak was reported in news media worldwide.

— Roger Rawlings










November 6, 2018


CHICKENPOX, BLACK MAGIC, 

AND WALDORF 




From The Asheville Citizen Times [North Carolina, USA]:


Chickenpox cases grow at 
Asheville Waldorf School

[by] Jennifer Bowman

The number of children diagnosed with chickenpox at a private school in Asheville has increased, Buncombe County health officials said Monday.

There are now 28 cases of chickenpox at Asheville Waldorf School, located in West Asheville. That's up from 13 cases — 12 of whom are students and another a child in the community — when the Health and Human Services Department announced the outbreak last week….

Asheville Waldorf, formerly known as Azalea Mountain School, was founded in 2009. It serves students from nursery to 6th grade.

The most recent tax form available shows the school in 2015 served some 130 students.




Waldorf Watch Response:

Rudolf Steiner's followers generally oppose the use of vaccination to prevent diseases. One consequence is that Waldorf schools often have high numbers of unvaccinated students. The schools are prone, then, to become centers of contagion. If Asheville Waldorf School has about 130 students, then an outbreak affecting more than two dozen students (so far) means that about a fifth of the students in the school have been afflicted (so far).


A previous article in The Asheville Citizen Times included the following:



"We want to be clear: vaccination is the best protection from chickenpox," Buncombe County Medical Director Dr. Jennifer Mullendore said in a statement. "Two doses of varicella vaccine can offer significant protection against childhood chickenpox and shingles as an adult. When we see high numbers of unimmunized children and adults, we know that an illness like chickenpox can spread easily throughout the community — into our playgrounds, grocery stores, and sports teams.”

Mullendore said unvaccinated people put others at risk, including babies who are too young to receive their shots or those who are "medically fragile or immunocompromised.”

"As a medical provider and a parent myself, I urge everyone in our community to get vaccinated against chickenpox," she said. 

[10/30/2018   https://www.citizen-times.com/story/news/local/2018/10/30/chickenpox-outbreak-reported-private-asheville-school-buncombe-county/1825023002/]


The case for vaccination is perhaps not as straightforward as Dr. Mullendore suggests. Many people today are skeptical of vaccination. However, the scientific and medical communities are virtually unanimous in advocating vaccination. 
The following is from the National Institutes of Health (an agency of the US Department of Health):


Vaccines prevent infectious diseases in people who receive them and protect those who come in contact with unvaccinated, infected individuals. Vaccinating children against diseases helps protect our community’s and our children’s health.


Before vaccines, many children died from diseases such as whooping cough and polio — diseases that vaccines are now able to prevent. However, according to reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there has been a resurgence of certain vaccine-preventable diseases in the United States in recent years. For example, since 2010, we have seen between 10,000 and 50,000 cases of whooping cough each year in the United States, with cases reported in every state.


[Downloaded 11/6/2018   https://nccih.nih.gov/health/vaccinations]



Rudolf Steiner did not absolutely forbid the use of vaccination as a preventative medical practice. He said that vaccination may be permissible and safe in some circumstances. But he warned against the hidden dangers that may lurk in vaccines.


"When things that ought to come later make their appearance as spiritual premature births [1]...through criminal occult activity [2]...[then] those who intentions towards humanity are not good, in other words those who are black or grey magicians [3], can gain possession of such secrets ... Certain circles [4] in this materialistic age are striving to paralyse and make impossible all of humanity's spiritual development [5], through causing people...to reject everything spiritual and reject it as nonsense ... Endeavors to achieve this will be made by bringing out remedies to be administered by inoculation [6] ... [T]hese inoculations will influence the human body in a way that will make it refuse to give a home to the spiritual inclinations of the soul. [7]" — Rudolf Steiner, SECRET BROTHERHOODS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2004), pp. 90-91.


Fear of black magic is surely not a valid reason to leave children unprotected against potentially serious diseases. Superstition should not trump rational thought and scientific knowledge.

There has been much discussion in the press, recently, about the safeguarding of students in Waldorf schools. [8] Surprising as it may seem, these schools — which present such a sunny face to the world — may be dangerous places for children. This is doubly so when the schools, officially or otherwise, reinforce unmerited, superstitious fear of vaccination.




[1] I.e., when occult spiritual wisdom that should be withheld until a later epoch is revealed prematurely.

[2] The word "occult," as Steiner used it (in German, "okkult"), means hidden. The most important spiritual knowledge, Steiner taught, is hidden or occult knowledge. Most such knowledge needs to remain hidden until mankind has evolved high enough to comprehend and benefit from it, Steiner taught. "Criminal occult activity," as Steiner says here, includes the discovery and misuse of spiritual wisdom that should remain hidden for now. Steiner himself claimed to know when various bits of occult knowledge should be revealed to mankind at large. His most important book, AN OUTLINE OF OCCULT SCIENCE, reveals secrets that he decided mankind could safely receive at its current stage of evolution. [See "Everything".] 

[3] According to Anthroposophical belief, black magicians engage in evil (black) magical practices; grey magicians dabble in black magic but also in white magic. [For more on Anthroposophical teachings about magic, see "Magic" and "Magicians".]

[4] I.e., secret societies and conspiratorial enclaves. [See, e.g., "Double Trouble".]

[5] I.e., mankind's spiritual evolution. [See "Evolution, Anyone?"]

[6] I.e., vaccination. [See "Steiner's Quackery".]

[7] I.e., the physical body will then be impervious to spiritual influences — it will reject the human soul, refusing to allow it to incarnate. [See the entries for "soul" and "spirit" in The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia.]

[8] See, e.g., "RSSKL" and "S. A. Exeter".

— R.R.










November 7, 2018


CHICKENPOX, BLACK MAGIC, 

AND WALDORF (CONT.)




The Associated Press has picked up the story of a chickenpox mini-epidemic in a Waldorf school. Here is a version of the AP story as reported by NBC News: 


Chickenpox cases up to 28 at 
private school in North Carolina


The outbreak at the Asheville Waldorf School 

began last week, with 13 cases.



ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Health officials say 28 private school students in North Carolina now have chickenpox in an outbreak that began last week. 

The number of children infected grew from 13 the week before…. 

In a statement, the Asheville Waldorf School said it has provided information about the outbreak to the health department. 

Buncombe County Medical Director Dr. Jennifer Mullendore said students who can’t provide proof of vaccination against chickenpox have been quarantined for 21 days.… 

[11/7/2018     https://www.nbcnews.com/health/kids-health/chickenpox-cases-28-private-school-north-carolina-n932086   This report was originally aired by NBC on November 6.]




Waldorf Watch Response:

The founder of Waldorf education, Rudolf Steiner, sometimes advanced specific esoteric reasons why humanity should fear vaccination. Yesterday, for instance, we touched on Steiner's teachings about potential links between vaccination and black magic. [1] 

But Steiner also created a more generalized climate of fear that leads Waldorf schools to be averse to vaccination. Teachers in these schools, heeding Steiner, tend to fear all products of modern technology: vaccines, certainly; but also computers, and televisions, and even steam engines. [2] This fear is rooted in Steiner's teachings about demons. So, for instance, Steiner made statements such as this:

“When we build steam-engines, we provide the opportunity for the incarnation of demons.” [3]

Build a technological device such as a steam engine, turn it on — and here come the demons! This, amazingly enough, is Steiner's warning. And, amazingly enough, Steiner's followers take it seriously. Indeed, they believe that Steiner's warning applies even more disinctly to the higher-tech gizmos we have today:

"[W]hat has been said here about the steam engine applies in a much greater degree to the technology of our time ... [T]elevision, for example. The result is that the demon magic spoken of by Rudolf Steiner is spreading more and more intensively on all sides ... It is very necessary that anyone who aspires towards the spiritual should realise clearly how the most varied opportunities for a virtual incarnation of elemental beings and demons are constantly on the increase." [4]

With such worries in mind, Steiner's followers shun modern technology as much as they can. They attempt to live natural, wholesome lives. Eat organic foods. Wear natural fabrics of cotton or wool. Turn off the TVs and smart phones and computers. And don't submit to vaccination.

The effort to live naturally and wholesomely may be admirable. But if such behavior is based on superstition instead of reason, then "admirable" is hardly the right description. In reality, the superstitious Waldorf/Anthroposophical fear of vaccination is groundless. [5] Consider. Catching various childhood diseases (chickenpox, measles, mumps...) may be "natural" for young kids, but is it good for them? Wouldn't effective preventative measures — first and foremost, vaccination — be better for them? Bear in mind, some preventable childhood diseases are potentially fatal.




Another reason Steiner's followers have misgivings about vaccination is that they believe in karma. The things that happen to a person during earthly incarnation, they believe, are often the result of karma. And, by and large, we should allow karma to play out. If, for instance, you acquire a certain illness due to karma, then you need that illness — it is required for your ultimate purification and spiritual advancement. [6]

But, here, things get a bit muddled. Steiner sometimes acknowledged that vaccination can prevent diseases, and he sometimes said that interfering with karma to prevent diseases may sometimes be warranted. But, he added, we should do this only if we supplement physical medical care with hefty doses of his esoteric spiritual teachings:

"If we destroy the susceptibility to smallpox, we are concentrating only on the external side [i.e., the physical side] of karmic activity. If on the one [hand] we go in for hygiene, it is necessary that on the other [hand] we should...contribute...something also for the good of [the patient's] soul. Vaccination will not be harmful if, subsequent to vaccination, the person receives a spiritual education." [7]

The form of spiritual education that Steiner advocated was, of course, education centering on his own spiritual preachments. Waldorf schools, which base their practices on these preachments, would seem to be in the ideal position to meet Steiner's criterion. They could promote vaccination among their students, after which they would provide the requisite spiritual education. Arguably, they were already providing this education anyway — Waldorf education is fundamentally spiritual. [8] 

In other words, we might expect Waldorf schools to be enthusiastic promoters of vaccination. But this is almost never the case. Worries about unnatural modern technology, with the accompanying fear of demons, and the concern about disrupting karma, and warnings about black magic  — these lead Waldorf schools to be deeply wary of vaccination.

Waldorf schools often appear on lists of schools having the highest numbers of unvaccinated students in a district or state. Waldorfs could avoid such infamy through the simple expedient of requiring that all students be vaccinated before the start of the school year. They could stipulate that parents provide certificates of vaccination for their children. But they almost never do this. Consequently, news accounts like the following appear from time to time:


All 10 kindergartens with the highest rates of vaccine exemptions are in N. California


Across the state [i.e. California], kindergarteners are being vaccinated at the highest rates in years. But that has led to some "pushback" from anti-vaxxers, particularly in Northern California.

Some Californians, the Los Angeles Times finds, are seeking doctors who will issue medical exemptions so they can avoid immunizing their children...
California kindergartens with the highest medical exemption rates include:

58 percent: Sebastopol Independent Charter - Sonoma County
52 percent: Yuba River Charter - Nevada County
51 percent: Sunridge Charter - Sonoma County
43 percent: Live Oak Charter - Sonoma County
38 percent: Berkeley Rose School - Alameda County
38 percent: The New Village School - Marin County
37 percent: Coastal Grove Charter - Humboldt County
37 percent: The Waldorf School of Mendocino County - Mendocino County
35 percent: Summerfield Waldorf School & Farm - Sonoma County
33 percent: Santa Cruz Waldorf School - Santa Cruz County   [9]
 

Three of the schools on this list are immediately identifiable as Waldorf schools. But the situation is actually far worse. Although the article does not mention it, every single kindergarten on the list is associated with Waldorf education. Some of these kindergartens, such as Sebastopol Independent and Live Oak, are "Waldorf-inspired" programs. Others, such as Yuba River and Central Grove, say that they are guided by the "principles of Public Waldorf Education." Similarly, Berkeley Rose says it is "accredited by the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA)," and The New School says its curriculum is "inspired by and based on indications given by Rudolf Steiner."

The high numbers of unvaccinated students at many Waldorf schools makes these institutions dangerous. They are potential centers of contagion.




[1] See "Chlckenpox, Black Magic, and Waldorf", November 6, 2018.

[2] See, e.g., "Spiders, Dragons and Foxes".

[3] Rudolf Steiner, “The Relation of Man to the Hierarchies” (ANTHROPOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT, Vol. V, Nos. 14-15, 1928).

[4] Anthroposophist Georg Unger, “On ‘Mechanical Occultism’” (Mitteilungen aus der Anthroposophischen Arbeit in Deutschland nos. 68–69, 1964).

[5] There may be rational reasons for being cautious about vaccination, but worries about demons, and karma, and black magic are not among them.

[6] See "Karma". Also see the entry for "evolution of consciousness" in The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia.

[7] Rudolf Steiner, MANIFESTATIONS OF KARMA (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2000), pp. 165-166.

[8] See, e.g., "Here's the Answer" and "Schools as Churches".


— R.R.









November 8, 2018



CHICKENPOX, BLACK MAGIC, 

AND WALDORF - PART 3




News of the chickenpox crisis at an American Waldorf school has reached across the ocean. The following account, based on Associated Press reporting, appears in today’s Daily Mail [United Kingdom]:


Panic over chickenpox outbreak 
in North Carolina private school 
as the state's rate of 
unvaccinated kids soars 

• North Carolina's rate of unvaccinated children doubled between 2012 and 2016 due to easy exemption rules for religious reasons 

• There is no approval process for religious exemptions: the parents just need to write a letter claiming religious beliefs 

• Religious exemptions have risen dramatically, from 871 in 2012 to 2,073 in 2016 

• Asheville Waldorf School is now quarantining unvaccinated kids as 28 contract chickenpox 


Twenty-eight private school students in North Carolina now have chickenpox in an outbreak that began last week.…

North Carolina's rate of unvaccinated children doubled between 2012 and 2016 due to easy exemption rules for religious reasons.

To obtain a medical exemption, parents need a doctor to prove that their child is immunocompromised and would be harmed by the vaccine....

However, religious exemption is much simpler. There is no oversight. The parent need only write a letter to the school claiming religious beliefs, and their child is exempt….

Asheville Waldorf, a private school, opened in 2009….

It serves students from nursery school age to Grade 6, with approximately 130 students, for up to $8,900 a year.

'Asheville Waldorf School is committed to protecting the health and safety of our community,' the school said in a statement.





In the proud tradition of the British press, the Daily Mail plays a little fast and loose with some facts. (There does not seem to be a "panic" in Asheville over the situation, for instance.) But, generally, the article conveys the nature of the problem at the Asheville Waldorf School.


Meanwhile, other news media — chiefly in the USA — have been publishing and broadcasting coverage such as the following:



WTVD-TV [Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina]:

Chickenpox outbreak in North Carolina sickens 29

By Tisha Powell

A chickenpox outbreak in western North Carolina now has more than two dozen people sick with the illness.

The Buncombe County Health Department is confirming 29 people have chickenpox and 28 are students at a private school in Asheville.

Officials said the outbreak remained under investigation….

[https://abc11.com/health/chickenpox-outbreak-in-north-carolina-sickens-29/4626881/
]




WKYC-TV [Cleveland, Ohio]:

Doctors issue warning about chicken pox: 
What you need to know


Chicken pox is something doctors say 
parents shouldn't take lightly.


If you hear that chicken pox is going around your child’s school, you may not worry because everyone gets chicken pox, right?

You’ve probably even heard that some people purposely expose their children to chicken pox.

But doctors are warning parents about “chicken pox parties” [where kids are intentionally exposed to someone having the disease]….

Dr. Ellen Rome is head of the Center for Adolescent Medicine at Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital. Several years ago, she remembers a 2-year-old child who died — and the only thing wrong was chicken pox….

“People used to think of chicken pox as a rite of passage. Nowadays, we think of it as an opportunity missed to be better vaccinated,” Dr. Rome said….

[https://www.wkyc.com/article/news/health/doctors-issue-warning-about-chicken-pox-what-you-need-to-know/95-612126362]




As far as I know, there have been no reports of "chicken pox parties" in or around the Asheville Waldorf School. However, any school with large numbers of unvaccinated students is a hazard zone where children may easily catch, and spread, infectious diseases.

— R.R.










November 9, 2018


CHICKENPOX, BLACK MAGIC, 

AND WALDORF - PART 4



The following items provide some context and background for the recent news reports of a chickenpox mini-epidemic at an American Waldorf school.


1.


From the Waldorf Critics discussion site:


Here is what the CDC [Centers for Disease Control] has to say about chickenpox:

"Before the vaccination program, about 4 million people in the United States got chickenpox, over 10,000 were hospitalized, and 100 to 150 died each year."

and

"Each year, chickenpox vaccine prevents an estimated 3.5 million cases in the United States, and is almost 100% effective at preventing severe cases.

"Although it is still possible for vaccinated people to get chickenpox, the symptoms are usually milder with fewer blisters and mild or no fever. Chickenpox cases have declined about 92% in the United States from the period before the vaccination program started and chickenpox outbreaks rarely occur.”

[https://www.cdc.gov/about/24-7/savinglives/chickenpox/]

Another complication is that one in three people who have had chickenpox get shingles years later, caused by the chickenpox virus (varicella-zoster) that stays in the body near the spinal cord and brain after one has recovered from chickenpox. Shingles carries the risk of further complications.

I had chickenpox as a very young child and I've had shingles three times, when I was six, when I was in my early 20s, and again a few years ago. My children had chickenpox and and one of them has had shingles. It was close enough to the eyes to cause us all great anxiety since it can cause blindness. Shingles is extremely painful and the pain can stick around for years after the blisters have disappeared.

I would encourage everyone to vaccinate their children against chickenpox.

Also, a vaccine exists for shingles and is currently recommended for people over 50 in the US since older are people are more susceptible to getting shingles.

— Margaret Sachs [https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/waldorf-critics/conversations/messages/31922]




Waldorf Watch Response:

Chickenpox is usually a fairly mild disease. But, as the statistics above indicate (10,000 hospitalizations, 100 to 150 deaths annually in the USA), it is not always mild. And bear in mind: These statistics are for a single, admittedly rather large, country. Totals for the entire world would doubtless be far higher.


Here is what the World Health Organization says:


Nature of the disease


Varicella [i.e., chickenpox] is an acute, highly contagious disease. In temperate climates most cases occur before the age of 10 years. The epidemiology is less well understood in tropical areas … While mostly a mild disorder in childhood, varicella tends to be more severe in adults … The disease may be fatal, especially in neonates [i.e., newborn children] and immunocompromised individuals….

Geographical distribution

Worldwide.

[
http://www.who.int/ith/diseases/varicella/en/]


Evidently no firm worldwide statistics are available, but we have a few indicators. In Nigeria, in the 1970s, there were 14 chickenpox deaths reported among 2,153 hospital admissions. In Papua New Guinea, in the 1980s, there were 10 chickenpox deaths in adults at one small hospital over two years in a total population of 130,000. In Sri Lanka, in 2000-2001, there were 41 chickenpox death among 989 hospital admissions (4.2%). Overall, it is estimated that — at a minimum — there are 140,000,000 cases of chickenpox cases every year worldwide. Severe complications, leading to hospitalizations, occur in approximately 4,200,000 cases. The best estimate is that 4,200 deaths from chickenpox occur worldwide each year. [See "Varicella Disease Burden and Varicella Vaccines", 2014 — 
http://www.who.int/immunization/sage/meetings/2014/april/2_SAGE_April_VZV_Seward_Varicella.pdf.]

Estimates are only estimates, of course. But the World Health Organization — like the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Heath — speaks with considerable authority. We can generally rely on these organizations to provide reliable information.





2.

From a former Waldorf school doctor:


If in childhood we have to undergo chicken pox, diphtheria, whooping cough, mumps or German measles it means that we suffer because through the illness an opportunity is provided for our future development.

This brings us to the subject of immunisation, or the artificial suppression of disease. If successful at all this does not take into consideration the vital factor that a children's disease occurs for the sake of the child's development....

— Dr. Norbert Glas, “How to Look at Illness” (New Knowledge Books, London; see Rudolf Steiner Archive, https://www.rsarchive.org/RelAuthors/GlasNorbert/How_To_Look_At_Illness.php)





Waldorf Watch Response:

Dr. Glas offers the standard Anthroposophical line: Illness can be good for us; it may be a blessing. [See "Steiner's Quackery".] Illness can help us to fulfill our karma. More generally, it can be a process of purification, enabling us to evolve to higher levels of spiritual development. For this very reason, vaccination is generally unwise — by suppressing diseases that would be good for us, vaccination interferes with our "development."


We find this view of disease and its prevention in various Anthroposophical texts, such as the following, written by a Waldorf teacher:


"Childhood diseases...result from a necessary developmental process in which the human being tries to overcome influences from the inherited physical body. The child must bring inherited substances into line with his own 'I' [that is, the child's spiritual individuality] ... The intensity of this process depends on the degree of conformity between the physical body and the 'I'. The bigger the difference, the more intense the harmonization process expressed in these types of disease will have to be. This basic concept of the origin of childhood diseases has been complicated by new forms of medication that suppress symptoms (vaccination) ... [T]he harmonization process is partly blocked by their use." — Henk Van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2011), p. 20. (The parenthetical reference to vaccination occurs in the text; I did not add it. — R.R.)


Beliefs such as these lead Waldorf schools to frown on vaccination. The result can be the sort of situation reported recently at the Asheville Waldorf School: A large percentage of the students, unprotected by vaccination, have been stricken with a potentially serious infectious disease. And we should note that bias against vaccination can easily lead to epidemics involving diseases considerably more dangerous than chickenpox often is. Note that in his list, Dr. Glas includes "diphtheria, whooping cough, mumps or German measles." Any and all preventable, infectious diseases can threaten children who have been denied proper medical care. Among other measures, proper medical care certainly includes vaccination.

— R.R.










November 16, 2018



CHICKENPOX, BLACK MAGIC, 

AND WALDORF - PART 5




The chickenpox outbreak at an American Waldorf school has spread further. It has now given the disease to 30+ students.

From the website of Blue Ridge Public Radio [North Carolina, USA]:




This 1981 electron microscope image shows varicella-zoster virions from a patient with chickenpox. 
[CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION]



Chicken Pox Outbreak 
Hits School With County's 
Highest Vaccine Exemption Rate

By HELEN CHICKERING


The Buncombe County Department of Health and Human Services says the chicken pox outbreak at an Asheville private school [the Asheville Waldorf School] has now spread to more than 30 students ... [T]he school has a history of high vaccine exemption rates.…

Buncombe County Medical Director, Dr. Jennifer Mullendore…says the private school had the highest vaccine religious exemption rate in the county last year….

The Asheville Waldorf School issued a statement, noting that the school is cooperating with the health department….

During the 2016-17 school year, 57 percent of the kindergarten class at the Asheville Waldorf School (formerly Azalea Mountain School) claimed a religious exemption. During the 2014-15 school year class the religious exemption rate was 73 percent….

[11/16/2018     http://www.bpr.org/post/chicken-pox-outbreak-hits-school-countys-highest-vaccine-exemption-rate     This report was originally aired on November 15.]






Waldorf Watch Response:

In North Carolina, receiving a religious immunization exemption (i.e., permission to refuse vaccination) is extremely easy. Membership in a church and belief in God are not required. 

The following is from The News & Observer [Raleigh, North Carolina]: 


The number of N.C. [North Carolina] kindergarteners opting out of required childhood vaccinations on religious grounds more than doubled in the five school years from 2012 to 2016. And both public health officials and anti-vaccine advocates agree that the exemption is being claimed by parents whose true objection to the shots has nothing to do with faith.… 

To claim a religious exemption, a parent needs only to write a statement “of the bona fide religious beliefs and opposition to the immunization requirements,” and give it to the child’s school in place of an immunization record, according to state law. 

The statement doesn’t need to be prepared by an attorney, signed by a religious leader or notarized. No form is needed. The statement doesn’t go to the state for review or approval. 

Alan Phillips, an Asheville-area lawyer who counsels parents all over the nation on how to exempt their children from vaccine requirements, said that, under the N.C. rules, “You don’t even have to believe in God.”

[https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article188633004.html]




For previous Waldorf Watch coverage of the situation at the Asheville Waldorf School, see "Chickenpox, Black Magic, and Waldorf", November 6, 2018, and subsequent reports dated November 7, November 8, and November 9. All of these reports are available at https://sites.google.com/site/waldorfstraighttalk/indications-12.


– R.R.










November 18, 2018


ILLNESS TOLL AT WALDORF SCHOOL 
RISES TO THREE DOZEN 


The number of students at an American Waldorf school stricken with chickenpox has reportedly risen to 36. From The Asheville Citizen-Times [North Carolina, USA]: 


A leader in vaccine exemption,
Asheville Waldorf has NC's
worst chickenpox outbreak since '95

[by] Sam Degrave

A chickenpox outbreak at a private school now ranks as the state's largest since a vaccine for the virus became available more than 20 years ago, health officials say. 

As of Friday, 36 students at Asheville Waldorf School had contracted the varicella virus, known to most as chickenpox. The school has one of the highest vaccination religious exemption rates in North Carolina. 

The viral infection manifests in an itchy rash in most cases and is not typically life-threatening. But the outbreak at Asheville Waldorf should cause concern, said Dr. Jennifer Mullendore of Buncombe County Department of Health and Human Services. 

"People don't think it's a serious disease, and for the majority of people it's not. But it's not that way for everybody," Mullendore said. Two to three out of every 1,000 children infected with chickenpox required care in a hospital, she said. 

"To me, that's not a mild disease, and if you're the parent of one of those children, you probably don't think so either," Mullendore said.… 

[R]ecommendations [for children to be vaccinated] have by and large gone unheeded by the parents of Asheville Waldorf's 152 students — 110 of whom have not received the chickenpox vaccine…. 

During the 2017-2018 school year, the last for which data were available, Asheville Waldorf had a higher rate of religious exemptions for vaccination than all but two other schools in the state. 

Of the 28 kindergartners who enrolled that year, 19 had an exemption to at least one vaccination required by the state for school entry. 

School officials did not respond to questions from the Citizen Times Friday…. 





Waldorf Watch Response:

When the epidemic at Asheville Waldorf School was first reported, approximately 24 students at the school had come down with chickenpox. The total has now increased by about fifty percent, rising from two dozen to three dozen students made ill by the disease.

If the student body of Asheville Waldorf consists of 152 students, then the 36 ill students represent about a quarter — one in four — of all the students at the school.

Approximately three-quarters of the students at the school have not been vaccinated against chickenpox (110 out of 152 students).

About two-thirds of the children in the Asheville Waldorf kindergarten (19 out of 28) have been exempted from one or more vaccinations otherwise required by the state of North Carolina.

Although reliable worldwide statistics have not been compiled, it appears that more than four million people are hospitalized each year due to complications from chickenpox. Moreover, authoritative estimates indicate that as many as 4,200 people worldwide die each year due to chickenpox. [See http://www.who.int/immunization/sage/meetings/2014/april/2_SAGE_April_VZV_Seward_Varicella.pdf.]

As Dr. Mullendore suggests, chickenpox can indeed be a serious disease. You would certainly recognize this fact if your own child had to be hospitalized, or — tragically — died, due to chickenpox.

For previous Waldorf Watch coverage of the situation at Asheville Waldorf, see "Chickenpox, Black Magic, and Waldorf", Parts 1-5 (November 6, 7, 8, 9, and 16).











For further coverage,