TACOMA, Wash. – Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department confirmed today that a second student in the Puyallup School District has the mumps. The latest case is a female student who attends Edgemont Junior High School.
On Jan. 5, district administrators contacted the Health Department because they thought the Edgemont student might have the mumps. The Health Department confirmed the mumps case Jan. 9. The case is in addition to the mumps case the Health Department confirmed in a Northwood Elementary School student on Jan. 6. Both of the students were exposed to mumps outside of school.
“Prevention is the best protection against disease outbreaks,” said Nigel Turner, communicable disease division director at Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. “Public health is essential to make sure children are safe and healthy at school with up to date immunizations,” Turner said.
Mumps can spread easily and quickly in a school setting because the virus is highly contagious among people who are in close contact for prolonged periods.
Following Washington State Department of Health protocol and to prevent further exposure, the district has decided in consultation with the Health Department to exclude unvaccinated and under vaccinated students from attending school. Exclusions for students with no or one dose of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine will begin:
- Northwood Elementary – Jan. 16 and may affect 13 of the school’s 386 students.
- Edgemont Junior High – Jan. 17 and may affect seven of the school’s 381 students.
As soon as unvaccinated and under vaccinated children receive the required doses of MMR, the district will allow them to return to school.
The vaccine is the best protection against mumps and is highly effective to prevent the virus and reduce outbreaks. Parents wishing to avoid exclusion should contact their child’s healthcare provider. Free immunizations are also available during most weekdays at the South Hill Mall. The next time the clinic is available is Jan. 10. For a list of other dates and times and other immunization options visitwww.tpchd.org/immunizations.
What is mumps?
Mumps is a highly contagious viral illness. An infected person can spread it through face-to-face contact by coughing, sneezing, or spraying saliva while talking. Mumps can also spread when people share cups and eating utensils. Mumps is a condition that health providers must report to the local health department when a probable or diagnosed case occurs.
What are the symptoms?
Mumps causes puffy cheeks and a swollen jaw, the result of swollen salivary glands. Other symptoms are:
- Muscle Aches
- Loss of Appetite
Up to 10% of teen boys and men can experience swelling of the testicles. Meningitis and encephalitis are rare but serious complications of mumps.
How can you prevent mumps?
Immunization is the most effective way to prevent mumps. Make sure you and your children are up to date on the MMR vaccine. Children must have two doses of the MMR vaccine to attend school. Other ways to protect yourself:
- Avoid contact with anyone infected with mumps.
- Wash your hands with soap and water.
- Don’t share cups and eating utensils.
Who is more likely to get mumps?
- Babies less than one year old.
- Children older than one who have not received at least one dose of the MMR.
- Adults born in or after 1957 who have not been vaccinated or have not had mumps before.
Recent mumps cases in the region started with an outbreak in south King County. Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department identified the first Pierce County probable mumps cases Dec. 9. On Jan. 9, the Health Department was investigating five probable and 11 confirmed cases. Find more resources about mumps at www.tpchd.org/mumps.