Dear Methow Valley School District Families,
The Mumps outbreak in Washington State continues to grow. Over 200 cases have been documented across 5 counties since October. Spokane County cases have doubled in the last week and 179 students have been notified that they are to be excluded from attending school by the Health Department.
Fortunately, Okanogan County does NOT currently have any confirmed cases. However, we want to work with you by providing you with information that may help you protect your family and yourself from the Mumps and the possibility of your child being excluded if an outbreak were to occur in our region.
What is the mumps?
Mumps is a contagious infection caused by a virus that can cause painful swelling of the salivary glands, resulting in a swollen cheek appearance. Some people with mumps won’t have gland swelling. They may feel like they have a bad cold or the flu instead. Mumps usually goes away on its own in about 10 days. But in some cases, it can cause complications that affect the brain, the testicles, the ovaries, or the pancreas.
What we are doing at the school district to pro-actively prepare?
- Our school nurse is working with our local health department on steps to take to assure our school community is prepared if a case were to emerge in our community.
- Our school staff are checking their immunization records to assure they are immune.
- We are reviewing student immunization records and notifying families of students that do not appear to be adequately immunized for mumps based upon our records.
- Informing parents that have filed an exemption of the risk of exclusion (determined by the Health Department).
What might happen if a case of the mumps was confirmed in our school district?
- We would contact our local public health district. The Health Officer (a medical doctor) has the authority and is in charge of a plan to stop the spread of the disease.
- Any students or staff without records showing immunity could be excluded from attending school for up to 26 days.
What can I do as a parent?
- Review your family’s immunization records and make sure your family has been immunized for mumps. If you aren’t sure, call your health care provider.
- Be aware of the risk of exclusion (as determined by the Health Department) if you have filed an exemption for your child.
- Avoid large crowds—this works for the flu too!
- If you or a family member thinks they may have the mumps—call your doctor and stay home until you are sure you are not contagious.
- Stay informed.
Two good resources…
Spokane Regional Health District:
Mumps FAQ & Current Status
Washington State Department of Health:
Mumps Outbreak in Washington State