Aspen School District reports a students with mumps
The Aspen School District alerted parents via email Friday that a student in the school district has contracted mumps.
Mumps is a virus that causes painful swelling of one or more salivary glands, a low-grade fever and a headache. Other symptoms may include muscle ache and fatigue, according to Pitkin County Public Health Director Liz Stark, who issued the alert on behalf of the Aspen School District.
Aspen School District declined to identify which school the student with mumps attends.
In Stark’s 10 years as the county health director, she said she does not recall any past mumps cases with the school.
Pitkin County, however, has investigated a case of the mumps locally within the past year, though the person was not from the area, Stark said.
Aspen Valley Pediatrics pediatrician William Mitchell said he doesn’t expect a major mumps outbreak to occur, as Aspen students have pretty high immunization histories.
“There are some families in this town who chose not to be immunized, but it’s not a large number,” Mitchell said. “The schools are also real good about reviewing every child’s immunization every year and identifying what vaccines they might be behind on.”
Aspen School District school nurse Elise Dreher estimated that about 95 percent of students in the district have received vaccinations.
Students attending child care, school, or a college with residence hall facilities in Colorado are required to have the mumps vaccine or an exemption to vaccination unless they are younger than 15 months old or were born prior to 1957.
In most states, a parent or guardian may excuse their children from receiving vaccinations for one of two allowed exemptions: religion and/or medical.
However, Mitchell said Colorado is one of the few states that allow parents to exempt their children from vaccinations for a third category: personal.
A vaccination offers about a 90 percent chance of protection from the virus, Stark said, adding that it is the best means of prevention.
For more information, contact Stark at Pitkin County Community Health Services at 970-920-5010.
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