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39-YEAR-OLD DAVIS COUNTY MAN DIES OF COMPLICATIONS FROM CHICKEN POX

A Davis County man has died of complications from chicken pox, state health officials said.

The rare case involved an otherwise healthy 39-year-old who developed encephalitis and pneumonia while stricken with chicken pox.Rick Crankshaw, immunization program director for the State Health Department, said the chicken pox weakened his immune system, allowing the more severe illnesses to take hold. He died May 21.

"It's not totally unknown, but it is rather uncommon," Crankshaw said.

He said the most common cause of death in adults who die from the virus is primary viral pneumonia.

In newborns who develop chicken pox between the fifth and 10th day of life, the fatality rate can be 30 percent, he said.

Chicken pox is usually a fairly mild disease, he said. It begins with a slight fever, followed by characteristic skin eruptions.