Health

Unvaccinated students forced to stay home due to mumps outbreak

More and more cases of mumps are coming into the Spokane regional health district. As of Monday afternoon, there were 44 cases of mumps in Spokane County, which makes this the worst mumps outbreak in decades.

And health officials say this number will likely go up.

Dozens of unvaccinated students will be forced to leave school this week, and if these cases continue to pop up, these students may be out of school for months.

About 20 kids at Rogers High School and 20 more students at Regal Elementary School will be spending at least the next month home.

These students are excluded either because they have not received 2 doses of the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine, or have not proven their immunity through a blood test.

MD Gretchen Lasalle explained, "we have a vaccine for mumps and we don't see the illnesses as much anymore and so I think people forget how serious they can be, and they don't think vaccination is as neccesary."

The doctor says taking these students out of school is an effort to keep them and their classmates from catching the illness.

"Well, it's highly contagious and you don't have symptoms until you're a couple of days into the illness. So you can pass it on without knowing it."

Students who are not vaccinated will have to stay home for up to 25 days, starting 12 days after the first exposure at their specific school.

And with the Spokane Regional Health district expecting more cases to be reported, Dr. Lasalle said "that's one to two months out of school... that's a big loss."

According to the Regional Health district, the 44 cases of mumps include 27 people who have been vaccinated, 8 who have not been vaccinated, and 9 whose vaccination status is unknown.

Most of the cases are in young people between 10 and 19 years old. If you have not received a note from your child's school or the health district about mumps at your specific school, that school is not currently affected.


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