The Alabama Department of Public health says it is investigating a limited outbreak of mumps at Central High School in Phenix City.
Mumps, a contagious viral disease that affects the salivary glands. Many people get immunized for the disease through the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine. Symptoms of the mumps include puffy, swollen cheeks and jaws along with fever, headache, pain and other flu-like symptoms.
The disease usually clears on its own, though some serious complications like hearing loss or meningitis can occur, according to the CDC.
"We are very appreciative of the school staff in Phenix City who are assisting us in addressing this outbreak," said Dr. Burnestine Taylor, Medical Officer for Disease Control and Prevention for the Alabama Department of Public Health, in a press release.
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"School and Public Health staffs are working together to notify parents of the outbreak and inform them of the necessary steps they need to take to protect their children during this investigation.”
The virus can spread through saliva and mucus. That means it can spread through sneezing, coughing, kissing or even just talking or touching items with unwashed hands, the department said.
“As Public Health continues to conduct our investigation, we will ensure that those who have been exposed to the disease are educated and informed about symptoms throughout the process and implementation of control measures," said Dr. Taylor in the release.
Parents concerned that their child may be showing symptoms are encouraged to contact a doctor to get a diagnosis. The best way to prevent against the disease is to get the MMR vaccine, the department emphasized.