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Tacoma Public Schools has first confirmed mumps case

A mumps vaccine sits on the counter of a California clinic in 2015. A student at Jason Lee Middle School in Tacoma has a confirmed case of mumps, according to the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. It is the first case of mumps within Tacoma Public Schools during the current outbreak.
A mumps vaccine sits on the counter of a California clinic in 2015. A student at Jason Lee Middle School in Tacoma has a confirmed case of mumps, according to the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. It is the first case of mumps within Tacoma Public Schools during the current outbreak. AP file, 2015

A Jason Lee Middle School student has a confirmed case of mumps, the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department announced Tuesday.

Neither the Health Department nor Tacoma Public Schools released the age, gender or grade of the student.

The student, the school district’s first case in the current regional mumps outbreak, was contagious Jan. 10-11, school spokesman Dan Voelpel said by email. The district learned of the case Tuesday.

Because of the confirmed mumps case, any student with no or incomplete vaccination for mumps will be excluded from school starting Wednesday, according to a Health Department news release. They can return to school once their vaccinations are up to date.

The school district has notified the parents of 20 children who will be affected. Jason Lee Middle School has 528 students.

Health Department spokesman Steve Metcalf said the student has been cleared to return to school and has done so. Voelpel said the student is not back in school yet.

The student contracted mumps away from school, the Health Department news release said.

Mumps is a highly contagious viral illness spread through face-to-face contact by coughing, sneezing or spitting while talking. It also can be spread through shared eating implements.

Symptoms include puffy cheeks, swollen jaw, fever, headache, muscle aches, fatigue and loss of appetite. Males might suffer from testicular swelling.

Newborns and those who have not been vaccinated are particularly susceptible to the infection.

There have been 25 confirmed mumps cases and nine probable cases in Pierce County since the beginning of the mumps outbreak in late 2016, according to the Health Department. At least four Fife Public Schools students and two Puyallup School District students also have contracted mumps.

More than 160 cases of mumps have been reported in King County during the course of the outbreak, according to county data. Of those, 118 are in Auburn and 13 are in Kent.

A free mumps vaccination will be available at the South Hill Mall in Puyallup on Wednesday. Details can be found at the Health Department’s website, tpchd.org/immunizations.

Kenny Ocker: 253-597-8627, @KennyOcker

More online

Find more information about mumps at the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department website, tpchd.org/mumps.

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