Families of children at Yankton’s Webster Elementary School were notified Tuesday of a reported case of mumps at the school.
The Press & Dakotan obtained a copy of a letter sent out by Webster School Principal Melanie Ryken Tuesday.
"This letter is to inform you of a positive mumps case at Webster Elementary," she wrote. "Mumps is very contagious and is spread by saliva, coughing, sneezing, touching contaminated surfaces and sharing of water bottles and cups. Vaccination, isolation and good handwashing are the best ways to stop the spread of the disease."
Ryken went on to ask that parents and children who show signs of mumps not go to work, school or public places, but contact their doctor’s office.
No mention was made of when the diagnosis occurred or whether the person with mumps was a teacher or a student.
Nearly 30 cases of mumps were reported in early September among attendees of a wedding in Nebraska — some were Yankton County residents. Last week, 11 cases of mumps were identified in northeast Nebraska.
At this time, it is not known whether the Webster mumps case is related to the September cases.
In recent years, Nebraska recorded 19 cases of mumps in 2018, six in 2017, five in 2015, one in 2014 and two cases in 2013.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there were about 186,000 cases of mumps reported each year before the U.S. implemented a mumps vaccination program in 1967. Once the two-dose MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) vaccine was introduced in 1989, U.S. mumps cases decreased more than 99%, with only a few hundred cases reported most years, though there have been several increases in cases and outbreaks about every five years since 2006.
"There are hundreds of confirmed mumps cases every year in the U.S.," Jill Mitzel, director of nursing at Yankton Medical Clinic (YMC) told the Press & Dakotan Tuesday. "There is no specific treatment except for supportive care of pain and fever as needed."
Mitzel added that symptoms usually resolve on their own — but as with any virus or illness — there can be rare complications.
Mumps is caused by the paramyxovirus. The average incubation period for mumps is 16-18 days. It is contagious anywhere from two days before the onset of symptoms to five days after. If at all possible, people with mumps should be isolated during that time. Recovery takes a week or two.
The classic symptoms of mumps are swollen parotid (salivary) glands which cause swollen cheeks, neck and a tender, swollen jaw, but not all individuals exhibit those symptoms, so people with mumps may not know they have it.
Other symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, swelling, ear ache/pain, respiratory symptoms and loss of appetite.
"Anyone who is symptomatic for the mumps should stay home and contact their physician for testing and instruction," Mitzel said. "YMC has masks at each entrance and encourages symptomatic patients to please put on a mask when entering the clinic."
According to South Dakota law, vaccination against mumps (MMR) is required of all students on entering school, even early childhood programs. The vaccine is not recommended for children under 1 year old.
"You may still get the mumps even if you have had MMR — as you may get influenza if you had the influenza vaccine," Mitzel said. "However, the symptoms and duration may be less if you are vaccinated. MMR vaccine is 88% effective with the recommended two doses, and 78% effective with one dose."
No third dose of MMR is recommended after exposure to the virus.
"The vaccine is recommended for individuals who have not had an MMR or have only had one dose," Mitzel said. "People who were born before 1957 are presumed to have natural immunity, either through actual disease or repeated exposures during a time before vaccines were available."
For more information go to cdc.gov/mumps/ .
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