The Pennsbury School District is warning parents and students about a confirmed case of the mumps. The Bucks County Department of Health requested the district inform parents about the virus’ symptoms and other details.
Rumors swirled late last week about a Pennwood Middle School student whose relative works at Temple University. An estimated 108 students at Temple have symptoms of mumps as of Thursday and at least 19 cases are confirmed.
As of Monday morning, Bucks Director of Health David Damsker confirmed there are no other confirmed cases in the school district.
“Mumps is a viral infection characterized by a non-specific illness,” the statement from Pennsbury said. “Including muscle aches, decrease in appetite, tiredness, headache, and fever followed by the sudden onset of tender swelling of the parotid (glands located under the ear and above the jaw bone) or other salivary glands.”
Being a viral infection, mumps is one of many illnesses with a vaccine. The Center for Disease Control recommends children should receive two shots before the age of six.
Additionally, Damsker said even if someone was not vaccinated as a child, the vaccine is available to anyone more than 1 year old.
The rate of mumps cases in the U.S has decreased by more than 99 percent since 1967 when the national vaccination program began in 1967. Outbreaks are not common, but can still occur especially in close groups.
It can take between 12 and 25 days before symptoms of mumps emerge in an individual, making it hard to stop an outbreak before it spreads. Even vaccinated students should consider getting a booster, as protections can sometimes fade ten years after the second shot.
“I wouldn’t recommend kids stay home from school. I don’t want people to panic about this,” Damsker clarified. “We’re always looking at suspect mumps cases throughout the year and most of them end up not being positive.”
The MMR vaccine, as it is known, covers measles, mumps, and rubella. Anyone with a child who is not vaccinated should immediately contact their physician or health care provider.