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Health officials report mumps outbreak in New Castle County schools

Delaware Public Media

Delaware’s Division of Public Health (DPH) says there’s an outbreak of mumps in New Castle County school children.

DPH reports nine mumps cases in the Colonial and New Castle County Vo-Tech School Districts - more than three cases is considered an outbreak.

Seven cases are confirmed and two are presumed. The confirmed cases include five students at William Penn High School, one at George Read Middle School and one at St. Georges Technical High School.

DPH Medical Director Dr. Rick Hong says all families of at risk students who have not received their Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccine (MMR) have been notified of the outbreak.

“We’ve been working closely with the involved school as well as the school district,” said Hong. “Parents and families have been notified about what has been going on. We do recommend if there are any symptoms that potentially could be mumps that students get seen by their primary care physicians.”       

A Colonial School District spokesman said the “vast majority” of its student population has been vaccinated. 

Hong says the vaccine is the best line of defense for mumps, but it “is not 100% effective. So there are occasional situations where you may still get the disease even though you are fully vaccinated.”     

Mumps is a viral infection spread through saliva. Symptoms can include fever, headache and swelling of salivary glands and could develop from 12 days to 25 days after exposure.

A 2018 outbreak started at dance events in Wilmington's Chase Center led to at least 19 confirmed mumps cases in Delaware that year - the first time since 2005 the state had seen more than three mumps cases in a single year.

The nation has seen a substantial increase in the number of mumps outbreaks since 2006, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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