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Mumps Outbreak Infecting 476 in Arkansas Finally Investigated

Image: Mumps Outbreak Infecting 476 in Arkansas Finally Investigated

College student gets mumps, measles and rubella vaccination shot. (Mark Kegans/Getty Images)
 

By    |   Wednesday, 12 Oct 2016 10:47 AM

A mumps outbreak in northwest Arkansas infecting 476, mostly students, now has school officials in three districts and the state's health department scrambling, although a dozen cases already were confirmed back in September.

That total was as of Monday's report of mumps cases, leading the state health department to require students with a vaccine exemption for mumps, measles, and rubella to be excluded from school for the next 26 days or until the outbreak has ended.

"Students with non-medical exemptions, who receive the recommended doses of (mumps, measles, rubella) vaccine, may return to school immediately," said the health department. "Right now, this outbreak affects schools in the Huntsville, Rogers, and Springdale school districts."

"(The Arkansas Department of Health) is working with people who have potentially been exposed and contacting area clinics and hospitals to make sure they are aware that they may see cases of mumps."

Jennifer Dillaha, the state's medical director for immunizations, told WTHV-TV in Little Rock that vaccinations could help control the outbreak.

"We are receiving reports of persons in Northwest Arkansas who have symptoms of mumps," she said. "In order to control the spread and decrease the opportunity for the mumps to spread then we need all of the children in the community to be vaccinated."

In early September, OzarksFirst.com reported 12 students in Springdale confirmed with mumps, the first mumps outbreak Arknsas has had since 2010 when there were five cases.

Rick Schaeffer, with the Springdale School District, told KHBS/KHOG-TV later that month that at least 22 students and three staff members in 18 schools had shown symptoms of the mumps, a substantial spike.

Mumps is a contagious disease caused by a virus that is spread through saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose, or throat, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. An infected person can spread the virus by coughing, sneezing, or talking; sharing items, such as cups or eating utensils, with others; and touching objects or surfaces with unwashed hands that are then touched by others, noted the CDC.

"The (mumps, measles, rubella) vaccine is safe and effective," said the Arkansas health department. "Two doses of MMR vaccine is 88 percent effective in preventing mumps. It is a live virus vaccine and is not recommended for pregnant women or patients with a weakened immune system. Adults born before 1957 are generally considered to be immune to mumps and do not need to receive the MMR vaccine."

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A mumps outbreak in northwest Arkansas infecting 476, mostly students, now has school officials in three districts and the state's health department scrambling, although a dozen cases already were confirmed back in September.
mumps, outbreak, infect, 400, arkansas
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2016-47-12
Wednesday, 12 Oct 2016 10:47 AM
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