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Some Sanpete County students asked to stay home from school amid small mumps outbreak

By Jacob Klopfenstein, | Posted - Apr. 15, 2019 at 8:07 p.m.

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MOUNT PLEASANT, Sanpete County — School officials are asking students who aren’t up to date on immunizations to stay home for several weeks as Sanpete County deals with a mumps outbreak.

There are two confirmed cases of mumps in Sanpete County, according to North Sanpete School District Superintendent Dr. Sam Ray. One of those is a student in the school district, he said.

Another potential mumps case is currently pending while health officials await test results, Ray said.

Ray did not say which school the student who has mumps attends, but said North Sanpete High School is “involved” in the outbreak.

School officials have notified all parents and employees of the outbreak over the weekend, Ray said.

Students need to get their immunizations up to date or at least start the MMR vaccine process, Ray said. Those who do not get immunized or who have claimed a vaccine exemption will not be allowed back at school for at least 26 days, or until after May 5, Ray said.

Parents and students can claim a vaccine exemption under Utah state law, but the law also states that those students with exemptions must stay home from school until a mumps outbreak is declared over, according to Ray.

“We’re trying to be as helpful as we can to parents,” he said.

About 10 percent of students at North Sanpete High School do not have their immunizations up to date, Ray said. However, some students may be included in that number because their parents did not provide the proper paperwork to the district to show that the student is up to date, he added.

About 20 percent of students at the school have claimed an exemption, according to Ray. Some of the students may have already had mumps, so they are not in need of the vaccine, he said.

Some parents of those students may have claimed an exemption while they were registering their student because they did not have access to immunization paperwork during registration, he added.

Some parents have provided the proper paperwork since they were notified over the weekend, and their students have already been allowed back to school, Ray said.

The Sanpete County Health Department will be hosting an MMR vaccine clinic from 8:30-11:30 a.m. Tuesday at the health department, located behind the Mount Pleasant City Hall at 20 S. 100 West, Ray said.

Tuesday’s clinic is primarily for people who have never been vaccinated, but the health department will accommodate others as necessary, Ray said. Vaccines will be available throughout the week at the health department, he added.

The school district is working with health officials at the state and county levels as the outbreak continues, Ray said.

People who previously received the MMR vaccine occasionally still get mumps, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Though the vaccine dramatically reduced the prevalence of the disease after it was introduced, mumps outbreaks still happen, especially in close-knit communities where people have prolonged contact with one another, according to the CDC.

Jacob Klopfenstein

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