Officials try to stop spread of chickenpox in New Mexico prison

Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018 9:53 AM

CHAPARRAL, N.M. – State officials say two inmates at a southern New Mexico prison have come down with chickenpox, and authorities are trying to limit the varicella virus that causes illness from spreading any further.

A New Mexico Corrections Department spokesman said Tuesday that the agency is consulting with state epidemiologists. It also is trying to determine which of the inmates exposed to the virus are immune to it and which of them are not.

Authorities learned Friday that the two inmates had become ill with chickenpox at the Otero County Prison Facility, a privately operated prison in Chaparral.

The department says that so far 135 inmates who may have been exposed to the virus have been offered blood testing to determine their immunity. Those who are not immune will be quarantined.

Prison staff also are being screened.