West Seattle schools: Louisa Boren STEM K-8 families notified of student with mumps

Thanks to the Louisa Boren STEM K-8 parents who just shared a letter sent to families today: The school says the county Health Department has told them a student has a confirmed case of mumps. According to today’s weekly update about the countywide mumps outbreak, that’s one of 25 cases in Seattle, 254 confirmed/probable cases in King County. Here’s the text of the letter families received:

Dear Louisa Boren STEM K-8 Parents:

Public Health – Seattle & King County (Public Health) has been informed of a student with mumps who attends Louisa Boren STEM K-8. The student is doing well and will remain out of school until no longer contagious. This case is linked to the ongoing King County outbreak.

What is mumps?

Mumps is an illness caused by a virus that can cause fever, headache, and swelling of the cheeks and jaw. In rare cases, mumps can lead to more serious complications that may require hospitalization. Up to 30% of people with mumps infection will have no symptoms.

How is mumps spread?

A person with mumps can spread the virus by coughing, sneezing, or talking. It can also be spread by sharing cups or eating utensils, and by touching objects or surfaces with unwashed hands that are then touched by others.

Who is at risk of getting mumps*?

 Infants who are too young to receive mumps vaccine (less than 1 year of age).
 Children over 1 year of age who have not received at least 1 dose of MMR
 Adults born in or after 1957 who have not been vaccinated or have not previously had mumps
 If you are unsure of your child’s vaccination status please contact your health care provider.
 Even persons with 2 doses of mumps vaccine can get mumps infection (but the risk is less
than for people who have not been vaccinated or those who have only had 1 dose of mumps vaccine).

What should I do now?

Watch your child for symptoms of mumps, even if your child has had 2 doses of mumps vaccine. If your child develops any of the symptoms listed above:
 Call your child’s healthcare provider and tell them about your child’s symptoms and that he or she may have been exposed to mumps. Bring or read this letter to the health care provider.
 Keep your child home and away from other persons and from public settings until he or she has been evaluated by a healthcare provider.
 If you have additional questions, please contact your health care provider.

Will children who do not have two doses of mumps vaccine be excluded from school?

At this time Public Health is not recommending exclusion of children with vaccine exemptions. This will change if there are additional cases in the school. Students without at least one dose of MMR vaccine will be excluded from school of a minimum of 25 days after the last case. If your child does not have 2 doses of MMR vaccine please contact your healthcare provider to discuss vaccination.

Additional information about mumps can be found at:

Krista Rietberg, MPH
Communicable Disease Epidemiology and Immunization Section

The 25 cases reported within Seattle city limits are not publicly broken out by location, so we don’t know if any of the others are in the West Seattle area, but this is the first West Seattle notification that’s been called to our attention.

BACKSTORY: This Seattle Times report says the King County outbreak started last fall in Auburn. Statewide, through mid-March, this data sheet says 473 cases have been reported this year; that’s up from 155 statewide for all of 2016, Before that, according to that same page, the statewide total had been in single digits 2009-2015, following three years in double digits.

7 Replies to "West Seattle schools: Louisa Boren STEM K-8 families notified of student with mumps"

  • Concerned Parent March 24, 2017 (7:40 pm)

    Hopefully we’ll have more responsible parents than not at our school who have vaccinated their children, to keep the harm from the outbreak to a minimum.

  • Lynn March 24, 2017 (8:22 pm)

    Uh oh. 22% of Pathfinder students aren’t fully immunized. 


  • JHC March 24, 2017 (8:37 pm)

    Vaccinate your children! I can’t stand parents these days.

    • WSB March 24, 2017 (8:49 pm)

      Before this goes any farther into the assumption that the ailing child is unvaccinated, please note that the CDC says the vaccine is not foolproof. (The letter in our story says that too.) That’s no reason NOT to get it, but since we don’t know anything about the patient, we can’t assume that s/he is unvaccinated. Thank you.


  • sbre March 25, 2017 (7:01 am)

    Hopefully that student isn’t a bus-rider who might have shared it with their driver, who then shared is with students from other schools.


  • justme March 25, 2017 (7:22 am)

    My daughter was vaccinated, and she had a terrible case of the mumps years ago.

  • Karen Winter March 27, 2017 (11:08 pm)

    The mumps vaccine may not be as effective as it used to be. The virus they use to make the vaccines appears to have weakened over time. Merck is currently facing charges that it falsified the most recent efficacy tests on the vaccine.


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