HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) - Parents at Laburnum Elementary School in Henrico received a letter from the Henrico County Health Department saying the children may have been exposed to a potential case of the mumps.
In the letter sent on Oct. 21, the health department says for students and staff at the school to monitor for signs or symptoms of mumps until Nov. 1, which is 25 days after the potential exposure. If there are any additional cases, the monitor period will be extended.
Mumps is a viral disease that is spread person-to-person through direct contact with respiratory droplets spread by coughing or sneezing. It can also be spread by coming into direct contact with an infected person’s saliva. Symptoms of mumps include headache, body aches, fever and swollen and tender glands in the jaw.
“They had called us and let us know, and my wife had informed me of the situation,” said Calvin Brown, who has a son that goes to Laburnum Elementary.
Brown says he appreciates the school’s response, adding that he’s not too worried just yet.
“If my son does seem like he’s getting sick, or feeling ill, or something of that nature, then I will take him to get checked out,” he said.
According to the letter, people who are infected with the mumps may not show signs until 12-25 days after exposure.
If anyone does develop signs of the mumps, the letter instructs them to visit the doctor and take the letter with them.
“It causes swelling in the salivary glands - the glands under your neck where you make spit in your mouth to soften up foods - it affects them. They swell up and they’re very painful,” said Dr. Sandra Bell. "Sometimes it can affect your upper respiratory system, and it will give you either bronchitis and pneumonia if you’re susceptible.
Dr. Bell says that the virus is common among children, which is why the vaccine is usually given twice, years apart, but that it is rare.
She says that it’s always best to be ahead of it.
“The symptoms can be the same as any flu-like illness: you just don’t feel good, you have low-grade fever, you may develop a little cough. But everything that has those symptoms are not mumps. Sometimes you need to see the doctor to make the proper diagnosis,” Dr. Bell said.
The health department in the letter says to make sure everyone is up to date on their immunizations.
A representative for the Richmond-Henrico Public Health department says that they are investigating only a suspected case of the mumps at Laburnum Elementary and that it is limited to one person at this time.
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