Seymour Community School Corp. officials said there is a possibility of a case of mumps in an elementary school.
Superintendent Rob Hooker said Wednesday afternoon that the school system is waiting to get confirmation from a physician that the symptoms are in fact the mumps.
Seymour-Redding Elementary School is where the suspected case is, Hooker said.
Because of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) privacy laws, no information about the person will be made public, he said.
Jackson County Health Officer Chris Bunce said the case is being investigated by an epidemiologist at the Indiana State Department of Health. Bunce said he was told it involved a teacher who has had minimal contact with students because of Seymour’s fall break last Thursday and Friday.
“The teacher has been in self isolation, so this is a very low-risk situation for students at the school,” Bunce said.
He also said it’s common for reports of suspected mumps to be ruled out in the end.
The mumps is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus that most people are vaccinated against as a child, along with the measles and rubella. The disease is no longer very common in the United States but outbreaks do still occur.
“We all feel safe from these things, but they are still out there, and that is why vaccinations are so important,” Bunce said.
To be on the safe side, the school sent all pregnant women, including staff and visitors, home, Hooker said. Students and staff who are immunized or who have had the mumps in most cases are protected from contracting the disease.
Hooker said he doesn’t want anyone to panic about the situation, but that if it were confirmed mumps, it would still be serious.
School nurse Sherry Reinhart is working with the health department and will be keeping staff and families informed on the situation, he added.
“This isn’t something most of us have ever dealt with,” Hooker said.
The most common symptoms of the mumps include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, loss of appetite, and swollen and tender salivary glands under the ears, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It is spread like a cold through saliva or mucus from an infected person’s mouth, nose or throat, by coughing or sneezing, sharing items such as cups or eating utensils, with others or touching objects or surfaces with unwashed hands that are then touched by another.
Some people who get mumps have very mild or no symptoms, and often they do not know they have the disease, according to the CDC.
Most people with mumps recover completely with no major problems in a few weeks. Complications from the mumps are more widely seen in adults and include encephalitis, meningitis and deafness.