RUSSELL CO., AL (WSFA) - Two lab-confirmed cases of mumps at an east Alabama high school are under investigation by the Alabama Department of Public Health.
ADPH officials said Friday they're collaborating with administrators at Central High School in Phenix City where the cases were confirmed.
Mumps is a contagious disease caused by a virus that can spread and affect multiple parts of the body, ADPH said.
"We are very appreciative of the school staff in Phenix City who are assisting us in addressing this outbreak," said Dr. Burnestine Taylor, Medical Officer for Disease Control and Prevention for ADPH. "School and Public Health staffs are working together to notify parents of the outbreak and inform them of the necessary steps they need to take to protect their children during this investigation."
The virus that causes mumps can spread through saliva and mucus from the mouth, nose or throat. An infected person can spread the virus by coughing, sneezing, talking, sharing items, and touching objects or surfaces with unwashed hands. Certain behaviors that result in exchanging saliva, such as kissing or sharing utensils, drinking after persons, and sharing lipstick or cigarettes, might increase the spread of the virus, ADPH said.
SYMPTOMS: Mumps is best known for the appearance of puffy cheeks and swollen jaws. Additional symptoms usually appear in 16 to 18 days after a person has been infected. These symptoms include fever, headache, muscle pain, tiredness and loss of appetite. Mumps can occasionally cause complications, especially in adults.
"As Public Health continues to conduct our investigation, we will ensure that those who have been exposed to the disease are educated and informed about symptoms throughout the process and implementation of control measures," said Dr. Taylor.
PREVENTION: The best way to prevent getting the mumps disease is to get the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine, ADPH said. Additional ways to protect yourself from the virus include covering your cough, washing your hands, and staying home if ill.
Parents who are concerned that their child may be exhibiting symptoms of mumps should contact their health care provider or county health department.
More info on signs/symptoms of mumps