A suspected case of mumps has been identified in a Lee Middle School student.
According to a letter from District 4 Public Health, the Coweta County Health Department was notified Wednesday afternoon about the nature of the student’s illness. Children who have received the recommended two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine are extremely unlikely to develop mumps, public health officials say, so parents do not need to keep those students home from school.
However, parents should contact their healthcare providers and inform them of possible exposure immediately if any mumps symptoms occur before May 20.
Children usually receive the first MMR vaccine at ages 12-15 months and the second around age 4-6. While vaccination is the best protection against mumps, health officials say, mumps occasionally can occur in vaccinated children.
Mumps is a contagious viral illness that spreads through direct contact with respiratory droplets or saliva. Sharing cups and utensils or kissing can spread the virus. Symptoms can include pain, tenderness and swelling in the salivary glands (cheeks and jaws), along with low-grade fever, fatigue, headache, sore throat and muscle aches. Some males may experience testicular swelling.
Although most mumps patients experience facial swelling, some can have general symptoms or no symptoms at all, according to the Department of Public Health. Symptoms usually develop 16-18 days after exposure but cases have been reported as long as 25 days after infection, and those who contract the virus without experiencing symptoms can infect others.
The Georgia Department of Public Health recommends the following:
• Make sure your child is up to date on mumps vaccines. Vaccines will not provide protection if your child already has been exposed to mumps but should protect him or her in the future.
• If your child develops symptoms, promptly see a doctor and ask for a buccal swab to test for mumps.
• Notify your child’s school nurse immediately so that additional mumps identification and prevention measures can be put into place.
• Keep your child out of school for five days from the time he or she first develops cheek or jaw swelling.
For more information, contact Julie Marty at the Coweta County Health Department, 770-254-7400; Melody Wegienka, District 4 Communicable Disease Nurse Coordinator, 706-616-2749; or the Georgia Department of Public Health, 1-866-782-4584.