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NWA Mumps Cases Now Up To 150; Cases In Springdale Schools Rise

SPRINGDALE (KFSM) — The Arkansas Department of Health reported Wednesday (Sept. 14) the number of suspected and confirmed cases of mumps in Northwest Arka...

SPRINGDALE (KFSM) — The Arkansas Department of Health reported Wednesday (Sept. 14) the number of suspected and confirmed cases of mumps in Northwest Arkansas was up to 150, and possible cases of mumps have also gone up in the Springdale and Rogers School Districts.

Springdale was reporting 78 students with mumps-like symptoms in 19 schools, spokesman Rick Schaeffer said Wednesday.

Rogers schools reported one more possible case of the mumps, which brings the total in that district to three, according to spokeswoman Ashley Siwiec. The cases were reported at Rogers New Technology High School and Old Wire Road Elementary School. Siwiec said the nursing staff is contacting families of students who may have come in contact with the symptomatic child.

A case of the mumps was also confirmed in the Huntsville School District this week and the health department is investigating a possible case of the virus in Fayetteville and West Fork.

The health department said of the school-aged population, about 90 percent of those affected were up to date on their vaccinations. Of the under and over school-aged population, most of those affected were not vaccinated. The MMR vaccine, which includes mumps, measles and rubella, is about 88 percent effective and the health department said the outbreak would be much worse if fewer students were vaccinated.

The virus outbreak was first reported in Springdale Aug. 31 and has spread since then. The schools with students who have mumps symptoms include:

  • Springdale High School
  • Lakeside Junior High
  • Sonora Middle School
  • Turnbow Elementary
  • Archer Learning Center
  • Thurman G. Smith Elementary
  • Westwood Elementary
  • Tyson Middle School
  • Tyson Elementary
  • Jones Elementary
  • Lee Elementary
  • Southwest Junior High
  • Parson Hills Elementary
  • Walker Elementary
  • Har-Ber High School
  • Don Tyson School of Innovation
  • George Elementary
  • Early Childhood Center
  • Bayyari Elementary

Students who have shown symptoms of mumps are being sent home. Students who have exemptions from the MMR vaccine are also being sent home.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines require unvaccinated children, whose parents decide to not get the vaccine, will be kept out of school for 26 days after the last instance of a person developing the swollen salivary glands caused by the virus. Students who develop mumps symptoms are excluded until the disease is not considered contagious, which is about five days after they develop swollen glands.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mumps is a viral illness that is transmitted by direct contact with respiratory droplets or saliva from an infected person. Symptoms include painful, swollen salivary glands that show up as puffy cheeks and swollen jaw. Boys may also have painful, swollen testicles. Other symptoms include fever, headache, muscles aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite.

There is no treatment, and symptoms usually resolve themselves within a few weeks. Mumps is usually a mild disease in children, but adults may have more serious disease with complications.

Once a patient gets the MMR shot, the body immediately starts developing antibodies to the viruses, but the vaccine is considered effective about two weeks later, according to the health department.

The health department said the first case of the virus was likely brought to Northwest Arkansas by someone who traveled to Iowa, which is dealing with an outbreak of its own. The case was brought in by an adult and was then spread to another adult and then to children.