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Mumps outbreak growing in King County; case found in Seattle Public Schools

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A student who attends Nova High School has been diagnosed with mumps.

SEATTLE, Wash. — The mumps outbreak is growing in King County. There are now 108 cases. One case is in the state’s largest school district, Seattle Public Schools.

While the bulk of the cases are in Auburn at 83; it has now spread to cities like Federal Way, Kent, Bellevue, and Seattle. Seattle Public Schools say they are working closely with the health department in hopes this will stay an isolated situation, but it’s still concerning parents like Audra Gallegos.

“I noted it, but I wasn’t really paying attention to it because it seemed far away, but it’s not so it’s kind of scary,” said Gallegos.

The Seattle Public Schools confirmed its one case of mumps is a student at Nova High School.

“We knew once it was in King County the spread of the communicable disease, especially in under or unimmunized population, was inevitable,” said Seattle Public School’s Health Services Manager Marie Debell.

She said it’s why the district has been proactive in trying to prevent the spread.

“School nurses have been referring those students with that healthcare provider because we knew that there was an outbreak in King County, so we were aware,” said Debell.

Doctors say the best prevention is getting vaccinated. While symptoms can vary, some of them can be severe like brain and hearing issues. The illness could even affect the heart or testicles for boys and ovaries for girls, according to Dr. Rick Bowles with Pacific Medical Center.

It’s why parents like Paul Rasmussen are hopeful the kids around his eighth grader are vaccinated and mumps doesn’t spread any further.

At this point, Seattle Public Schools district leaders said the health department hasn’t recommended yet to pull students out who haven’t been vaccinated as in the case in the Auburn School District.