UPDATE: The original story published in the Tacoma Daily Index on Jan. 9, stated that one Puyallup School District student has been diagnosed with the mumps. Later on the day of publication, the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department confirmed that a second student had been confirmed to be infected with mumps.
Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department confirmed Jan. 9, 2017, 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.
Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department previously determined a student at Northwood Elementary School in the Puyallup School District has the mumps. The female student will not return to class until she is no longer contagious.
On Jan. 5, district administrators learned of a possible mumps case at the school. They contacted the Health Department, which later confirmed the female student had mumps.
“In recent weeks, the Health Department has worked proactively to inform schools countywide about possible increase in mumps cases,” said Nigel Turner, communicable disease division director at Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. “Public health is essential to keep the public informed about emerging disease threats and to control disease outbreaks,” Turner said.
Because mumps is highly contagious among people who are in close contact for prolonged periods, it can spread easily and quickly in a school setting.
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. For other immunization options visit www.tpchd.org/immunizations.
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.
Mumps is best known for causing puffy cheeks and a swollen jaw, the result of swollen salivary glands. Other symptoms are: Fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, loss of appetite.
Immunization is the most effective way to prevent mumps. Everyone should make sure they are up to date on their MMR vaccine. Children must have two doses of the MMR vaccine to attend school.
– Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department