Office of Public Health issues mumps outbreak alert; Arkansas and Texas

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – The Louisiana Office of Public Health (OPH) has issued an alert to educators and health professionals. There are two nearby states with reports of an outbreak of mumps.

The OPH reports Arkansas has over 2,000 reported cases of mumps. Dallas, Texas around 50 cases. The Office of Public Health says even though there have been o reported cases in Louisiana, residents still need to take all the necessary precautions.

Dr. Tina Stefanski of the Louisiana OPH says the MMR vaccination has an 88% effective rate against measles, mumps and rubella. The reported cases in Arkansas are reported to be mostly in children.

Dr. Stefanski explains the first childhood vaccinations is given at 5-12 months of age and the second dose at 4-6 years of age. “So, if you bring your child to the doctor for their vaccinations, ultimately then they are up to date because this is one of the requirements for school entry,” says Stefanski.

Stefanski says Louisiana has a high immunization rate in both the public and private school systems. In fact, Acadiana schools show an average vaccination completion rate of about 86% to 96%. “Of course, there is always work to do. We work really close with school systems to make sure children are vaccinated.”

Acadiana resident, Ron Bourque is a father and grandfather. Bourque supports the vaccination of children. “We believe in it. We’re from the old school. We believe in it whole-heartedly,” adds Bourque.

Bourque says vaccinations are a preventive measure that can be beneficial in the long-run. “It’s a plus and you’re doing what’s best for your kids, you know.

The OPH says adults should take notice. Dr. Stefanski says with the outbreak in Arkansas the infected adults were not appropriately vaccinated. “If you’re an adult born after 1957 check your immunization records. You should have 1 dose of MMR vaccine.”

If you plan to travel, be aware that some neighboring states are seeing outbreaks – check your records and know your status.

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