Credit: WGME

Reported cases of chickenpox in immigrants seeking asylum and staying at the Portland Expo have city officials and the Maine Centers for Disease Control spreading the word to anyone who may have gone to the Expo.

Saturday morning, 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.”

Maine CDC has been made aware of the situation, describing variclla (chickenpox) as a “is a contagious viral disease that can spread easily to individuals who have not had varicella and have not gotten the varicella vaccine. Individuals staying at the Portland Expo are already considered exposed.”

The city’s Health and Human Services Department sent out a memo to staff and volunteers at the Expo, stating the individuals with chickenpox were at the Expo while they were infectious.

“We are informing staff and volunteers at the Expo who visited on July 26, 2019 or later to watch for symptoms, and to check their vaccination record with their healthcare providers,” the memo reads.

Chickenpox’s most common symptom is an itchy, blisterlike rash that first appears on the chest, back, and face. The rash then spreads over the entire body. After about a week, the blisters become scabs.

The virus can spread easily to anyone who has not had chickenpox or are not vaccinated through close contact.

“The Portland Public Health and the Maine CDC also recommend good hand hygiene to prevent the spread of varicella,” according to the memo.

Everyone who is unvaccinated or never had varicella should get two doses of vaccine, officials said.

For vaccine questions, please contact the Maine CDC Immunization Program at 800-867-4775 or through