Christina Bravo

3 Mumps Cases at San Diego County Schools Could Have Exposed Others: HHSA

The number of mumps cases in San Diego County has hit a 25-year high

Three people at separate San Diego County high schools were diagnosed with mumps this month, county health officials said Tuesday -- warning that others may have been exposed to the virus.

Attendees of High Tech High School International, La Jolla High School and San Pasqual High School could have been exposed to mumps, a contagious virus that causes swollen glands, puffy cheeks, fever, headaches and -- in severe cases -- hearing loss and meningitis, the County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) said.

The dates of possible exposure were: 

  • at High Tech High School International (Liberty Station) from Oct. 21 to 22
  • at La Jolla High School from Oct. 21 to 23, 25 and 28
  • at San Pasqual High School (Escondido) from Oct. 17 to 18 and 21 to 24
All three schools sent letters to families alerting them to the potentiale exposures.

Public Health Officer Wilma Wooten said HHSA was working with the school to inform ateendees of the possible exposure and vaccine recommendations. She urged students, staff and parents to be on the look out for symptoms of the virus. 

"Absolutely a vaccinated person can get the mumps. Two doses of mumps vaccine is about 88% effective, one dose: 78% effective," Wooten told NBC 7. "Parents should take this seriously. We know mumps is circulating in the comunity."

Within 48 hours, most people diagnosed with mumps experience the swelling of their salivary glands, leading to puffy cheeks and a tender, swollen jaw.

The Mumps can be prevented with the MMR vaccine, which also protects against measles and rubella, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Two doses of the vaccine are recommended -- one at 12 to 15 months of age and another at 4 to 6 years of age.

The CDC said the U.S. mumps vaccination program began in 1967 and, since then, there has been a 99 percent decrease in mumps cases in the United States with periodic outbreaks on colleges or other places where people are in close contact.

This year though, the number of mumps cases in San Diego County hit a 25-year high, according to HHSA, a trend occurring across the country.

47 mumps cases have been reported in San Diego County this year compared to 10 in 2018. Across the nation, 2,701 cases have been reported so far which is higher than the total 2,612 cases reported in 2018.  

A San Diego State University student was diagnosed with mumps in March, prompting the university to send a campus-wide email alert warning of the case of the contagious disease.

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