The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

May 9, 2014

One mumps test negative, results soon on second

JEFFERSON — The first of two samples of suspected mumps in two Buckeye Local Schools students proved to be negative, much to the relief of the Ashtabula County Health Department.

The county learned Thursday that the first sample sent for analysis, taken from a Kingsville Elementary School student, was negative, said Chris Kettunen, director of nursing. Results from a sample from a second student could be known soon, she said.

“We’re hoping to hear something (today),” Kettunen said.

Early last week, the county learned two students at the school were ill with symptoms strongly resembling mumps, which is highly contagious. Both children had recently been in contact with someone who lives in Franklin County, where a mumps outbreak has been reported. Ages and grades of the students have not been released to protect their identity, officials said.

Last weekend the county sent a letter to Kingsville Elementary parents advising that mumps cases were a possibility. The letter urged parents to examine their child’s immunization records to make sure they had received the proper number of vaccines. The first vaccine comes in infancy (age 12-15 months)  and the second upon entering school (age 4-6).

Some parents obtain the first vaccination for their children but not the second, health officials said last week.

Kettunen was very happy to hear the first sample proved negative. A vaccination clinic that would offer booster shots was an option discussed last week.

Since the letter was distributed, the school nurse has contacted parents of kids who had not received the vaccine to gauge interest in a clinic, Kettunen said. Parents declined the opportunity, Kettunen said.

Vaccinations are optional, officials have said. Parents can opt out for religious and other reasons.

The county has not seen a case of the mumps in more than 20 years, officials said last week.

With outbreaks of mumps and measles reported in Ohio, county health personnel are emphasizing the importance of immunizations.

“We’re still reminding people how important it is to get the vaccine,” Kettunen said. “We don’t want (the illnesses) up here.”

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