Dear Parent or Guardian of a Fairfield County School Student:
As you are aware, Columbus and Franklin County has been experiencing a community outbreak of Mumps disease. Currently, Fairfield County has had one probable case and is investigating several other suspect cases.
The Fairfield County General Health Department is keeping the Fairfield County School administrators and nurses updated on mumps activity in the county.
This letter is to provide information about mumps disease in general and what steps the health department and your school may take if there are confirmed cases of mumps in the county.
Mumps is an acute viral disease which causes fever and swelling and tenderness on one or both sides of the neck (parotid glands). This virus is highly contagious with an incubation period of 14 to 25 days. Mumps can be transmitted to another person from 3 days before a person shows symptoms and up to 9 days after symptoms appear. Mumps is spread through respiratory droplets, saliva and touching surfaces that have viral particles from an infected person. For information go to our web site at www.myfdh.org.
Vaccination is the best protection from getting the mumps. Mumps vaccine is included in the combination measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) and measles-mumps-rubella-varicella (MMRV) vaccines. No vaccine provides 100% protection, but 2 doses of mumps vaccine are 88% effective at preventing disease. Children should receive the first dose of mumps-containing vaccine at 12-15 months of age and a second dose at 4-6 years of age. Adults born in 1957 or after likely have received 1 dose and may receive a second MMR. Adults born before 1957 most likely had mumps and are generally considered immune.
School-age children who have not been fully immunized with two doses of a mumps containing vaccine should call their health care provider and make arrangements to get immunized as soon as possible.
If a mumps outbreak is confirmed in a Fairfield County school the health district may implement the Center for Disease Control (CDC) advisement for outbreak control (concerning unvaccinated students) which states:
“Exclusion of susceptible students from schools affected by a mumps outbreak (and other unaffected schools judged by local public health authorities to be at risk for transmission of disease) should be considered among the means to control mumps outbreaks. Once vaccinated, students can be readmitted to school. Students who have been exempted from mumps vaccine for medical, religious, or other reasons should be excluded through at least 25 days after the onset of parotitis in the last person with mumps in the affected school.”
Please be advised if a parent/guardian has exempted their child from the MMR vaccinations the child may be exempted from attending school during a vaccine preventable community disease outbreak. The exemption form “Children with a legal immunization exemption per Ohio Statute 3313.671 (exemptions) signed by the parent/guardian contains the following language:
“I further understand that during the course of an outbreak of any of the aforementioned vaccine preventable diseases, that the student named here is subject to exclusion from school for the duration of the outbreak.
This action is necessary not only to protect this student, but the remainder of the students and faculty of the school.”
Parents/guardians of children who are immunocompromised should consult with the child’s health care provider to determine if the child should be kept home from school until the risk of getting mumps is resolved.
Other ways to prevent the spread of mumps and other infectious diseases: wash hands frequently, cover your cough, not sharing cups, utensils, frequent cleaning of high-touch areas such as door knobs, and stay home when sick.
Your health care provider can provide the MMR vaccine for your child or you can get the vaccine at the Fairfield County Health Department Immunization clinic. You can call the health department at 740-652-2802 to schedule your child’s appointment.
Mark Aebi, MD