Hundreds of students affected by Mumps outbreak

Hundreds of students affected by Mumps outbreak

Hundreds of Spokane students are out of school because of the Mumps outbreak and the number will continue to climb. The Spokane Regional Health District says there are 76 confirmed cases of Mumps in the county. About half of those people are unvaccinated.

The worst Mumps outbreak in decades is only getting worse. Exclusion letters went out to six additional Spokane schools Tuesday, bringing the total number of affected schools in the district to 15. Nearly 130 students at Longfellow, Bemiss, Adams, Roosevelt and Whitman Elementary as well as Sacajawea Middle School have to stay home for 25 days because they don’t have proof of immunization. Nearly 350 kids district-wide are now out of class.

“The tipping point is two or more cases, so anytime we see a need for a new exclusion order, it’s when we see those two or more cases,” Kim Papich, Spokane Regional Health District, said.

Kathryn Rosenbaum took advantage of the Salvation Army’s free Mumps vaccination clinic Tuesday.

“I work in the East Valley School District where there’s been a Mumps outbreak,” Rosenbaum said.

Even though she thinks she’s been vaccinated before, she’s not taking any chances.

“I came down today because I needed to get another MMR because I don’t have my original shot record from when I was a child,” Rosenbaum said.

East Valley is just one of four local districts dealing with the contagious virus, with one school affected. Two schools are affected in Mead, three in Central Valley and 15 in Spokane Public Schools.

“We’re averaging anywhere from ten new cases for investigation per day,” Papich said. “We definitely are having a hard time keeping pace.”

During an outbreak, the Spokane Regional Health District can order students and staff, who don’t have proof of immunity, to stay home for 25 days. Health officials are urging people to get up to date on their shots.

“If you’re vaccinated, you’re nine times less likely to get the Mumps,” Papich said.

The Health District believes Spokane County’s Mumps outbreak could be linked to King County’s. Mumps cases are starting to decline in King County, making local officials hopeful Eastern Washington will see numbers start to drop as well.

If your family has been affected by the Mumps exclusion in schools, we’d like to talk to you. Call Brittany Paris at (509) 710-2498 or email her at BrittanyP@kxly.com.