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Mumps outbreak in Snohomish County has area schools on alert

LAKE STEVENS, Wash. — Mumps outbreaks are happening across the greater Seattle area and now Snohomish County schools are on the list of growing concern.

The contagious disease started in the Everett School District and as of Saturday, cases have been linked to Standwood-Camano Island and Monroe School Districts. The Snohomish County Health District released a report listing 33 cases of mumps confirmed and suspected, 21 of which were found in schools.

Here’s the list from the Snohomish County Health District:

Everett High School (4 confirmed cases, 7 probable cases)
North Middle School in Everett, Wash. (5 probable cases)
Hawthorne Elementary in Everett, Wash. (1 confirmed case)
Twin City Elementary in Stanwood, Wash. (1 confirmed case)
Park Place Middle School in Monroe, Wash. (1 confirmed case, 1 probable case)
Frank Wagner Elementary in Monroe, Wash. (1 probable case)

A letter from Lake Stevens School District was circulating on social media Friday night, telling parents to prepare for the potential of mumps in their area. The letter states the district does not have any cases of mumps, but if that changes, parents will be notified.

Katie Wilson said she remembered a letter like that being sent home with her daughter Natalie in Everett.

“I think we got a letter sent home from school,” she said. “I do know that lots of kids are not getting vaccinated these days, so I guess that’s a testament to vaccinations that diseases do come back.”

Last week, Everett School District had 10 cases, this week the district is up to 17 cases.

Natalie, said Katie, is vaccinated.

“I talked to the kids about what does that mean, what does mumps mean,” she said. “I said, ’everything puffs up, it’s not good, but you shouldn’t have to worry too much because you’ve been vaccinated throughout your life.’”

Bethany Lynnae Graham goes to Lake Stevens. She said she had not seen the letter others were posting on Facebook.

“A couple districts over I heard there was a large outbreak of it,” said Graham. “I didn’t know it was coming to Lake Stevens or that or that there was a chance it was coming to Lake Stevens.”

Lake Stevens does not have it, but surrounding districts do. Monroe does, Everett does and now Stanwood-Camano Island districts does too. With mumps being so contagious, Bryan Stratton said his unvaccinated Lake Stevens student was given an ultimatum by the district Saturday morning.

“He had the choice of getting vaccinated this weekend or not participating,” said Stratton. He said his son was set to perform with the Lake Stevens choir in Everett next week. The district, he said was taking the necessary precautions to protect his son and the rest of the school from mumps.

“We did homeschooling for many years, so that’s why we didn’t have this kind of problem to think about” said Stratton.

Wilson said she trusts the vaccine will do its job, happy she doesn’t need to worry about the disease with her daughter.

“There’s always something. We’re counting our blessings, we’ve been pretty healthy this year, knock on wood. So we’ll see how things go.”

Signs, symptoms and prevention can be found at the Snohomish County Health District here.