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Snohomish Health District is the local public health agency for Snohomish County in Washington state. Our news releases are a resource for current public health information for media, the public, policymakers, and other community partners.

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Mumps update

Be aware of policy for excluding susceptible students from school and facilitate requests for vaccination services.

March 20, 2017

Today’s topic:  Mumps update

Action requested:  Be aware of policy for excluding susceptible students from school and facilitate requests for vaccination services.

Background & Recommendations

Mumps continues to spread through the community.  As of Friday, March 17, the Health District had investigated 13 laboratory-confirmed cases and 20 probable cases (i.e., having clinical signs and contact with a confirmed case); another 66 suspect cases remain under investigation.

Mumps can cause serious disease, uncommon today because vaccination has so dramatically reduced transmission.  Nonetheless, some in the community are highly susceptible, either because they cannot be vaccinated (e.g., infants and immunocompromised persons) or have elected not to be vaccinated.  Consequently, to protect students and staff at highest risk, certain measures should be implemented at all schools.

Following is the guidance shared with Superintendents about the Health District’s approach to managing mumps in schools.

  1. If there is a single probable case, the Health District will send out a letter advising parents and staff to watch for symptoms.
  2. If there is a single confirmed case OR two or more probable cases among students, the Health District will send out a letter stating that students who cannot show proof of immunity (by age, disease history, antibody testing, or vaccination documentation) should be excluded from school through 25 days after the onset of parotitis (i.e., swollen parotid gland) in the most recent case at the school.
  3. Staff who cannot show proof of immunity (by age, disease history, antibody testing, or vaccination documentation) are at risk for becoming infected, but the risk is lower than the risk for students.  Therefore, unless there is a probable or confirmed case among staff, the Health District will not require excluding susceptible staff.  However, if a probable or confirmed case occurs among staff, then susceptible staff should also be excluded from school through 25 days after the onset of parotitis (i.e., swollen parotid gland) in the most recent case at the school.
  4. Exclusions apply also to susceptible students who are participating in school activities, such as sporting events, even if those are the only contact such students may have with other students (e.g., home schooled students).
  5. Excluded students or staff may return immediately to school once they are vaccinated.

I ask that all health care providers across Snohomish County respond quickly to requests for vaccinations and reduce barriers (such as requiring prior enrollment) to such services.

You can find my recent health alerts posted on the Provider pages of our website, at http://www.snohd.org/Providers/Health-Alerts.

Gary Goldbaum, MD, MPH | Health Officer & Director | Administration

3020 Rucker Avenue, Ste 306 | Everett, WA 98201 | 425.339.5210 | ggoldbaum@snohd.org

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