A Coweta County middle school that was put on alert last week after a student was diagnosed with suspected mumps can breathe a sigh of relief.
Lab results show the student, who attends Lee Middle School in Sharpsburg, tested negative for the viral infection, a Georgia Department of Public Health spokeswoman said Tuesday.
According to the health department, parents should make sure their children have received two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. Children typically receive their first MMR vaccine at 12 to 15 months old and the second dose between the ages of 4 and 6.
Students who have received two doses of the vaccine have a minimal risk of contracting the virus and there is no need to keep them home from school, according to health officials.
Mumps is spread through direct contact with respiratory droplets or saliva and can be transmitted by sharing cups and utensils or by kissing. Symptoms of the infection include pain, tenderness and swelling in one or both salivary glands in the cheek and jaw, according to the health department.
It typically takes 16 to 18 days to develop symptoms after being infected with the virus. Parents whose children develop mumps symptoms in the next 25 days are urged to take them to a doctor immediately and inform them that a suspected case of mumps was identified at the school. Parents whose children exhibit symptoms are encouraged to keep the students out of school for at least five days.
Since the pre-vaccine era, there’s been a more than 99 percent decrease in mumps cases in the United States, and in 2010, the total annual cases were in the hundreds, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported.
However, in the past few years, the number of mumps cases nationwide has been on the rise. The CDC has noted an increase in the number of reported cases, from 229 in 2012 to 6,336 in 2016.
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