The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

May 10, 2014

County told second mumps sample is negative

JEFFERSON — A mumps scare at a school within the Buckeye Local district was apparently unfounded, according to reports.

Analysis of samples taken from two Kingsville Elementary School students who fell ill earlier this month were negative, said Chris Kettunen, Ashtabula County Health Department’s director of nursing.

Health officials learned Thursday that a sample from one student was negative. One day later, the test facility informed Kettunen verbally that the second test was also negative, she said Friday. Written confirmation is expected next week, she said.

Early last week the health department learned of two suspected mumps cases involving two students. Both children had contact with a person from Franklin County, where a mumps outbreak has been reported. The county sent letters to school parents explaining the situation and urging them to double-check their student’s vaccination records.

County health officials had not seen a case of mumps in the county for many years, they said last week.

Kettunen said she was relieved both cases were negative, but said the chances of mumps or measles occurring in the county rise as immunization rates continue to fall. Barely more than 50 percent of the county’s children obtain all the immunizations recommended to ward off mumps and measles. She believes young parents who haven’t experienced the illness’ first-hand in their lifetimes don’t realize the seriousness of the ailments and the importance of the vaccinations.

“We were lucky this time,” Kettunen said. “But so many cases are popping up around us.”

People interested in the immunization program can contact the Ashtabula County Health Department, 12 W. Jefferson St., Jefferson at 593-6010.

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