MMR frozen vaccine

Measles, mumps and rubella virus vaccine (MMR)

ENID, Okla. — Garfield County Health Department has confirmed at least some of the individuals who have or are suspected of having mumps in Garfield County have been vaccinated against the disease.

"I don’t have numbers on this just yet — but it does look as though some were fully vaccinated with MMR," Carla Dionne, director of Garfield County Health Department, reported in an email to the Enid News & Eagle. She added this particular vaccine — Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccination — "is 88 percent effective — but not perfect. Individuals with two doses can still get mumps."

Enid Public Schools sent out a text message Wednesday evening reporting Garfield County Health Department has confirmed multiple cases of mumps in the community, including at Longfellow Middle School and Enid High School.

Oklahoma Health Department later reported there have been four confirmed cases in Garfield County and at least 34 suspected cases.

EPS requires students to be in compliance with Oklahoma vaccination laws, EPS Communications Director Amber Graham Fitzgerald said. 

"Prior to (Wednesday's) events, the EPS Health Services Department established (Thursday) as the deadline for compliance," she said. "Those not in compliance — there are about 12 students who don't have the MMR vaccine — will not be allowed to return to school until they are in compliance."

This does not include students who have a religious or physical exemption from vaccinations, she said. 

Laurence Burnsed, an epidemiologist with the Acute Disease Service for the Oklahoma State Department of Health, confirmed that some of those who are suspected of contracting the disease in Enid have been vaccinated and that others have not been or do not know if they have been vaccinated.

"That's what you might expect in an outbreak situation," Burnsed said. "If you have the recommended two doses of MMR, you're at an 88 percent level of protection, so if 100 people were exposed, you would still have about 12 experiencing symptoms. The vaccine is not 100 percent protective."

In the health department's collaboration with school officials, Burnsed said there seems to be a good level of vaccinations.

The MMR vaccine is available at Garfield County Health Department.

Mumps is a virus spread though coughing, sneezing and direct contact with saliva through eating or drinking after an infected person, according to Garfield County Health Department. Symptoms can last seven to 10 days and usually appear 12 to 25 days after infection.

Mumps is characterized by puffy cheeks and a swollen jaw, due to swollen salivary glands. Other symptoms include body aches, tiredness and fever, and males may experience swollen, painful testicles, according to the department.

In order to prevent spreading mumps, children who exhibit such symptoms should not attend school or day care through five days after the illness begins, according to the department.

Burnsed encouraged those who have not been vaccinated or who are behind on their vaccination schedule to get the MMR vaccine to help protect against the illness.

Burnsed also said the state department is not ruling out that Enid's suspected outbreak could be related to a similar outbreak in Arkansas.

"It's certainly possible, considering the proximity," Burnsed said. "But we are still gathering information."

On Monday, the Arkansas Department of Health reported almost 100 cases of mumps have been confirmed in the state, with most being in Springdale, but some reported in Rogers and potential cases in Fayetteville, Huntsville and West Fork, according to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.

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Asher is education reporter for the News & Eagle. She can be reached at sasher@enidnews.com. Staff writer Violet Hassler contributed to this story.

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