Archive for Thursday, April 13, 2006

Eudora schools free of mumps

April 13, 2006

Although the Douglas County Health Department has seen reports of mumps swell within the last week, all has been quiet in Eudora.

School nurse Kathy Kellerman said she had been keeping up with reports sent out through the health department.

"We have not had any (cases) that I'm aware of," Kellerman said.

As of Tuesday morning, county officials have registered 28 confirmed and probable cases of the mumps.

The majority of the cases have been centered in the 19- to 26-year-old age bracket, DCHD spokeswoman Sheryl Tirol-Goodwin said.

Back in the late 1980s, the county saw an outbreak of mumps followed by measles.

This time, the county is working with state officials to make sure history doesn't repeat itself.

Earlier this year, Iowa suffered an outbreak of mumps that produced more than 300 cases.

Despite the localized age bracket, Tirol-Goodwin said officials are confident with the overall effectiveness of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccinations.

"We believe it's very effective and this is just an unfortunate situation where a small group of people are getting infected," she said.

Not all reported cases have been in young adults, Tirol-Goodwin said.

Tirol-Goodwin said the department has seen mumps in a child and in a man in his 50s.

"It's not to say other age groups can't be affected by this," Tirol-Goodwin said.

Should the illness reach the Eudora school district, Kellerman said she knew what to do.

"If it's something reportable then we report it, and if it's something that's contagious, we'll typically send a note home to let the parents know. If it's something that means not being allowed to be at school, then we follow those guidelines," Kellerman said. "I'm not always told when things occur, but if I'm told, I let people know."

While never covering an outbreak of the mumps, Kellerman said she has seen regular occurrences of strep throat, mononucleosis and chicken pox.

"That's something that typically has cycles and goes through," Kellerman said.

When something strange comes along, Kellerman said she contacts the health department.

"Whenever they have their notices ---- like with whooping cough ---- they're keeping us updated with what has been reported and what to look for," Kellerman said.

As for the mumps, Kellerman said she takes the situation seriously.

"Any contagious disease is a concern," Kellerman said.

Although it's a concern, Kellerman said if common conventions are continued, Eudora might end up unscathed.

"If everybody washes their hands and doesn't drink after each other ---- if you take those practices we take for granted all the time ---- I guess it shouldn't be (a problem)," Kellerman said.

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