COCHISE COUNTY — Parents are being reminded of the importance of having their children vaccinated, following a confirmed case of mumps in Cochise County.

Mumps is a contagious disease caused by a virus spread through the air by coughing or contact with infected secretions from the mouth, nose or throat. It is also spread when there is contact with an infected person’s saliva, such as with kissing, shared eating utensils, water bottles, and other items that touch the mouth.

The laboratory-confirmed case has been reported at Elfrida Elementary School. The student who contracted the disease had not been vaccinated.

With the support of Cochise Health & Social Services, the Elfrida Elementary School District informed parents of the situation on Friday. The case was confirmed late Thursday. The student is currently recovering at home and is doing well.

Health department staff have contacted both the student’s family and anyone who may have come in contact the student, and addressed any concerns. The department will also offer vaccinations to local families.

Parents are also being advised to watch for any signs or symptoms, and to keep their children home if they observe any of the following:

- Swelling and tenderness of one or more of the salivary (spit) glands around the neck and jaw. It is usually the gland located in front of and below the ears by the curve of the jaw.

- Two to three days prior to gland swelling, a low-grade fever may be present, and your child may experience muscle aches, lack of appetite, headache and/or earache.

- Swelling and pain in the testicles can occur in older boys and adult men. Females can have abdominal pain due to the swelling of the ovaries.

- In some cases, mumps will cause meningitis symptoms (stiff neck and headache), which typically go away without problems, but should be evaluated by a healthcare provider. Rarely, mumps will cause swelling of the brain (encephalitis).

“If you take your child to a healthcare provider with any of these symptoms, it is important to tell them ahead of time that your child has been exposed to mumps so other patients are not exposed during the visit,” said Cochise Health & Social Services Director Carrie Langley. “If mumps is diagnosed, please notify your school nurse. Your student may return to school on the sixth day after the onset of gland swelling.”

Children usually receive their first mumps vaccination (MMR) at 12-15 months of age, and their second at 4 to 5 years old. While the mumps vaccination is highly effective, mumps can occur in vaccinated people. For this reason, parents should watch for symptoms of mumps, even if their child is vaccinated.

For further information contact your health provider or Cochise Health & Social Services at 1-800-423-7271.

Submitted by Cochise County spokeswoman Amanda Baillie.

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