A student at Grice Middle School in Hamilton Twp. has contracted the mumps. Hamilton Township School District released a letter on February 19 informing parents of the diagnosis. The letter maintained the student’s anonymity and didn’t mention his vaccination status.
The New Jersey Department of Health and the Mercer County Division of Public Health are investigating, according to nj.com. The school district urges parents to contact the school nurse or the Hamilton Township Division of Health with any questions or concerns.
This case comes on the heels of Bill A3818’s failure to pass last month in NJ. The bill aimed to eliminate religious vaccine exemptions, and would have banned unvaccinated children from attending NJ public schools.
Mumps has been largely eradicated in the US due to the preventative MMR vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella. About 186,000 cases were reported annually before the vaccination program started in 1967, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Since the two-dose MMR vaccine was introduced in 1989, cases decreased more than 99 percent, though there have been outbreaks and increases since 2006.
Mumps has no known cure and is caused by a virus. It causes the swelling of one or more of the parotid salivary glands in the cheeks, according to the New Jersey Department of Health. Mucus or droplets from the nose or throat spread mumps, most commonly through coughs and sneezes. Symptoms in addition to swollen parotid salivary glands include fever, headache, muscle aches, fatigue and loss of appetite.
According to the CDC, 70 mumps cases in 16 US states were reported from January 1-25 this year.