A letter recently went out to families whose children attend John Sevier Elementary. The principal shared, out of caution, they’d been notified a student’s family member was showing symptoms consistent with mumps. Though the health department says this is an unconfirmed case of mumps.
Jordan is the mother at the heart of this suspected case. She asked we not share her identity or her name.
The family has two boys, a 7-year-old and a 2-year-old, who are feeling much better.
“They’re back to their usual selves, playing and eating well,” said Jordan.
Jordan says her 7-year-old came home from school late last month with a sore throat, headache and a low-grade fever.
“I actually took him to the doctor. They said it was a normal virus running its course.”
A week later their toddler got sick and Jordan says his face started swelling. The family took the 2-year-old to the hospital where Jordan says physicians had concerns the toddler may have mumps.
“I did a lot of praying that week,” she said.
Jordan shared that her 7-year-old is vaccinated and they’re waiting to give their 2-year-old the MMR vaccine because of adverse reactions.
“We made the decision to pull him out and homeschool him until we can get the youngest one up to date on all his vaccines and just feel protected,” she said.
Doctors at East Tennessee’s Regional Health Office want to stress this is a suspected case of mumps.
“There are a lot of viruses circulating right now that can cause salivary gland swelling in children,” said Dr. Tara Sturdivant.
Dr. Sturdivant says there is no reason for parents to be fearful because mumps is very rare. This year in East Tennessee there have been zero confirmed cases of mumps. However, in Middle Tennessee there have been two confirmed cases of mumps.
“They need to know that the most likely way that their children are going to be protected from the mumps is to have them fully immunized,” said Dr. Sturdivant.
According to the CDC, the MMR vaccine is 88 percent effective in protecting against the mumps virus. Dr. Sturdivant adds that if you’re vaccinated and do come in contact with the mumps virus, you’re much less likely to have severe symptoms.
The virus typically starts with a few days of fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness and a loss of appetite followed by swollen salivary glands.
Dr. Sturdivant says you can prevent transmission by washing your hands, covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, avoid sharing drinks or eating utensils and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.
Jordan hopes other parents understand they should be educated and know what’s best for their family.
“Happy and healthy that’s what we all want for our kids. So, we’re definitely relieved.”
Earlier this week Maryville City Schools shared some of their students are not vaccinated and sending that letter was a way for parents to watch out for signs that might warrant a doctor’s visit. On top of that, the school system is deep cleaning door handles, desks and other surfaces at John Sevier Elementary.