2 Everett students have mumps; 7 county cases now

EVERETT — Two more mumps cases have been confirmed in Snohomish County, both involving Everett School District students.

One student at Everett High School and the other from Hawthorne Elementary School were diagnosed with the illness, according to the Snohomish Health District.

It’s part of a statewide outbreak of the disease that has sickened 539 people, including seven in Snohomish County. Spokane County has the most cases, 237, followed by King County with 206, according to the state Department of Health.

A letter from the health district confirming the local cases has been posted on the Everett School District’s website. Classes at the two schools where a mumps case has been confirmed are continuing as normal, school district spokeswoman Leanna Albrecht said.

If mumps are confirmed at a school, students can be excluded from classes for 26 days if they aren’t up to date on the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine.

After being notified of the two students who had contracted mumps, the district told the families of 48 Everett High School students and nine Hawthorne students they would be excluded from classes unless they could show proof of receiving the shot.

On Wednesday, “we did have parents bringing in documentation to school to show a record of immunization,” Albrecht said.

The exact number of students who would continue to be excluded was not immediately available.

In the fall, the school district began contacting the families of students across the district whose immunization records indicated they had not received one or more of the required childhood immunizations, Albrecht said. The district encouraged families to submit immunization records to the school district.

In January, as the mumps outbreak continued to spread, the district contacted the families of 600 students whose records indicated they had not received the measles, mumps and rubella immunization, she said.

Two doses of measles, mumps and rubella vaccine are about 88 percent effective at preventing a mumps infection, according to state health officials.

Children should be vaccinated with two doses of measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. The first dose is recommended for children when they’re between 12 and 15 months old. The second dose is recommended between the ages of 4 and 6.

Mumps is a contagious disease that spreads through saliva. Symptoms include low-grade fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness and loss of appetite. It can cause swelling of the cheeks, neck or jaw.

Not everyone experiences these symptoms, however, and some people have no symptoms at all, according to the state health department. The illness generally lasts one week to 10 days.

In a letter to parents, Dr. Gary Goldbaum, health officer for the Snohomish Health District, said mumps symptoms can occur up to 25 days after being exposed to the illness.

The letter advises anyone with symptoms to call their clinic and to ask to be examined in an isolation room.

Adults should have at least one mumps vaccination, with some people needing two. People born before 1957 are considered immune because they probably had mumps, but health officials recommend that everyone born in 1957 or later be vaccinated.

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486; salyer@heraldnet.com.

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