Tarrant County high school students exposed to mumps

- But Pediatricians with Children's Medical say parents should be looking for symptoms of fatigue, fever and headaches.

“It can look like a regular virus in the beginning but just much more severe,” said Dr. Neeta Goli. “If kids have the symptoms of the cheeks swelling or the scrotal swelling, those are signs to take your child to the doctor right away.”

And the illness is highly contagious. It’s spread by things like sneezing, coughing or sharing cups. It can also be spread before a person shows any symptoms.

“Hand washing is very important,” explained Dr. Goli. “Mumps is spread by salivary secretions and droplets. So kids get into everything and then they put their hands in their mouth.”

Doctors with Dallas County Health and Human Services say they usually only see one or two cases a year. Last year, they had ten and are seeing increases nationwide even though many people may be vaccinated.

“As we become of advanced age, we're more likely to start, our immune systems start to weaken and the memory we obtain from getting the vaccine,” explained Dr. Christopher Perkins.

Even though the vaccine may not be 100 percent effective, doctors still recommend getting it when kids are 1 year old and then again between ages 4 and 6.

“So the best way to reduce chances of mumps is to get the vaccine,” Perkins said. “Eighty-eight percent effective is better than no coverage whatsoever.”

It may be as long as 25 days before an infected person experience symptoms including swollen salivary glands, a low fever, tiredness and muscle aches. While the symptoms are often mild, there’s no treatment and the disease can cause long-term health problems like meningitis.

Most students at Arlington Martin have been vaccinated. The principal there suggested that anyone who wasn't stay home and see a doctor if they start experiencing symptoms.

Arlington ISD says all students are required to be vaccinated but parents can opt out. Crowley ISD says their confirmed case of mumps is past the contagious period and have not seen any other cases.

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