Central Point mumps case marks 10th diagnosis in the region

Medford, Ore. — Jackson County public health officials met this morning to provide direction to schools and health care providers after a local high school student came down with the mumps. NBC5 News first told you about the illness on Thursday.

The student was vaccinated, but now we’re learning just how effective the vaccination is, and what you can do to make sure you’re protected.

Medical Director Dr. Jim Shames says the presumptive case of mumps in Jackson County, marks the 10th such diagnosis in our region since December.

“What we’re seeing currently are clusters of mumps cases recently in wrestlers who’ve been in tournaments,” Dr. Jim Shames says, “and I think the majority of those cases have been immunized kids.”

That was the case for Kassidy Boorman, a 14-year-old who likely contracted the virus after participating in a tournament in northern California. She was up-to-date on her immunizations, but still got sick. Dr. Shames says that’s not unheard of.

“Vaccines are not 100%,” Dr. Shames says.

For example the vaccine for measles has an effectiveness of about 96% – 97%. The mumps vaccine has an effectiveness of about 88%. And the flu, about 50%.

“It stands to reason that if you get some mumps cases, many of those even sometimes a majority of those will be in people who are immunized,” Dr. Shames explains.

The virus is spread by mucus, and causes inflammation of organs, including the pancreas, testicles, ovaries, brain tissue, and parotid- or salivary- glands. And while there’s no treatment there are things you can do to protect yourself, and others.

“People who are sick should stay home,” Dr. Shames says, “make sure you’re fully immunized, adults who’ve had one vaccine should have a second, school aged children should have 2, and cover your cough, wash your hands frequently, that sort of thing.”

Dr. Shames says they have been seeing a downward trend in people getting vaccinated. He adds it’s more common to see outbreaks of vaccine-preventable illnesses in communities that don’t get immunized.

Meanwhile, the Medford School District released a statement to NBC5 News. It reads, “On January 27th, The Medford School District was made aware of six possible cases of mumps in Marion and Lane counties involving wrestlers who attended a tournament with athletes from North and South Medford High School on January 14th. The district followed the guidance of the Oregon School Athletics Association to educate potentially affected students and their families and distribute general information about mumps.

On February 8th, the district notified Jackson County Health of a suspected case of mumps involving a North Medford High School student. Jackson County health wrote a letter to alert families of the suspected case and offering information on mumps, which the district will disseminate to all North Medford High School families today (Thursday).

This is a good time for parents to check their students’ immunization records. We also recommend that families remind students not to share food and drinks and continually wash their hands.”

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