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February 06, 2019

Potential mumps exposure in Upper Darby School District

Garrettford Elementary School student reported with the viral infection

Children's Health Parenting
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With measles outbreaks making headlines in some parts of the country, there is news of a potential exposure to another contagious viral disease in the Upper Darby School District.

A single case of mumps has been reported at Garrettford Elementary School in Drexel Hill, Principal Allen Brydges informed parents via letter which said the exposure may have occurred on Monday, January 28. 

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 “If your child is vaccinated against mumps, his/her risk of getting mumps is very low. But it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of mumps even if you have been vaccinated,” Brydges said.

Mumps is a viral infection that primarily affects salivary glands that are located near your ears and can cause swelling in one or both of these glands, according to Mayo Clinic. Some people infected with the mumps virus have either no signs or symptoms or very mild ones, however when they do appear, it’s about two to three weeks after exposure to the virus. 

According to the Delco Times, acting Superintendent Daniel McGarry says the district is following the guidelines of the Pennsylvania Department of Health:

“I can’t go into details,” McGarry said. “We are taking our guidance from the Department of Health. We have been contacted about the potential that mumps might be in the building. It seems to me there is a whole process to follow. The child has rights and I can’t go into much more details because of that.” 

“Mumps immunity for all children attending school is two properly spaced doses of live attenuated mumps-containing vaccine,” Brydges' letter told the school community. “The first dose can be administered on or after 12 months of age and the second separated by at least one month from the first. Each dose of mumps vaccine may be administered in a single antigen vaccine or in a combination form.”

Brydges also warned that children and adults not immunized or who have not completed the mumps vaccine series should start or continue getting the vaccine.

Of course, part of registering to attend school includes proof of a list of immunizations and date they were received, unless the child has a medical, religious or philosophical exemption. Students without required vaccinations may be excluded from school.

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