Member Login

Chickenpox: Appeals Court Says Health Dept. Actions Were Reasonable & Necessary

An order issued by the Kentucky Court of Appeals is being hailed as "a resounding victory for public health in Kentucky" by the Northern Kentucky Health Department.

In a statement issued Monday morning, the health department noted that the court reinforced that the department's actions following a chickenpox outbreak at a Walton school were "reasonable, appropriate, and necessary to control the spread of a highly infectious disease."

The appeals court order follows a finding by the Boone County Circuit Court that was also favorable to the health department in a lawsuit filed against it by a student at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart/Assumption Academy in Walton.

Jerome Kunkel, an 18-year old student at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart/Assumption Academy, was not vaccinated when the chickenpox outbreak hit the school. The Northern Kentucky Health Department forbade affected and non-vaccinated students from attending class or activities.

Kunkel later contracted chickenpox.

Supporting the actions of the health department, the Court of Appeals quoted the U.S. Supreme Court’s statement that, “Of paramount necessity, a community has the right to protect itself against an epidemic of disease which threatens the safety of its members.”

"This statement of law embraces the very mission of the Northern Kentucky Health Department, which strives every day to prevent disease, promote wellness and protect against health threats in the Northern Kentucky community," the health department stated.

Previously, the health department was critical of comments made by Kunkel's attorney, Chris Wiest.

Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher