Mumps Outbreak Affects Public Schools
By Destiny Quinn
Delta Digital News Service
KENNETT, Mo. — An infectious viral disease continues to spread at a rapid rate in Arkansas and nearby Missouri. With 2,595 cases of mumps confirmed, the Arkansas Department of Health has a lot of work to do in the upcoming months.
Northeast Arkansas school districts impacted by the mumps include Tuckerman, Paragould, Jonesboro and Randolph County. The ADH also released information indicating two college/vocational schools impacted by the mumps as well as 31 workplaces.
Missouri has also dealt with the mumps outbreak over the past few months. At the University of Missouri’s main campus in Columbia, more than 300 mumps cases have been identified, according to the Associated Press.
School districts everywhere are taking special precautions in an effort to keep children healthy. Kennett School District’s Director of Nursing Deborah “Deb” Cook said nurses in Kennett were given materials to review regarding the signs and symptoms of mumps.
“We have not done any additional education with teachers,” she said.
Cook said the Kennett School District has not had any confirmed cases of the mumps. She also spoke of a law regarding exclusion that could affect students in Kennett.
“Parents of students with medical exemptions were notified of the mumps outbreak and the state law requiring inadequately immunized students to be excluded from school,” Cook said. “The exclusion is a minimum of 21 days from the date of the last identified case.”
Amanda Deel, assistant dean of the New York Institute of Technology’s Osteopathic School of Medicine on the Arkansas State University campus, noted mumps vaccination comes with the measles, mumps, rubella and varicella vaccination.
“So the way that works is even with two shots, two injections, two doses of that vaccination, the efficacy of protecting against mumps is about 88 percent,” she said.
Deel said there aren’t really any vaccines that are 100 percent effective. However, she said it is important to be vaccinated in order to protect against the mumps.
Jada Hess, a registered nurse for NEA Baptist, said education provides the key to preventing the mumps.
“Educating parents on vaccinations for themselves and their children, signs and symptoms, and prevention of spreading viruses is very important,” she said.