Experts encourage parents to have their child vaccinated
05-13-2014 (Dayton, OH) -
Since April, Dayton Children’s Hospital has seen one suspected and one probable case of the mumps. According to the infectious disease experts, these are the first cases the hospital has seen in at least 20 years. In light of these recent cases, Dayton Children’s wants to strongly encourage families to make sure their children have the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and booster and to know the signs and symptoms of these conditions.
“Mumps and measles can be prevented by vaccination,” says Sherman Alter, MD, medical director of infectious disease at Dayton Children’s. “It is extremely important for parents to have their children vaccinated and to check their own vaccination records to ensure immunity. Not having your child vaccinated not only puts your child at risk but also increases the likelihood of spreading the virus to other children.”
The vaccine is given as part of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) immunization, which is usually given to children at 12–15 months of age. A second dose of MMR is generally given at 4–6 years of age. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, two doses of the vaccine are 88 percent effective at preventing the disease and one dose is 78 percent effective.
Dayton Children’s is also encouraging all staff and visitors to the hospital to please wear a mask if they believe they have symptoms such as a blotchy rash, fever and cough (measles) or swollen neck glands under the ears and fever (mumps).
“Please seek medical attention if you believe you or your child may have one of these viruses,” says Alter. “It is our top priority to keep our patients and staff safe from this virus. If you do have to visit your doctor’s office or the hospital, wearing a mask will help to control the spread of the infection.”
Mumps is a disease caused by a virus that usually spreads through saliva and can infect many parts of the body, especially the parotid salivary glands. These glands, which produce saliva for the mouth, are found toward the back of each cheek, in the area between the ear and jaw. In cases of mumps, these glands typically swell and become painful.
The mumps virus is contagious and spreads in tiny drops of fluid from the mouth and nose of someone who is infected. It can be passed to others through sneezing, coughing, or even laughing. The virus can also spread to other people through direct contact, such as picking up tissues or using drinking glasses that have been used by the infected person.
People who have mumps are most contagious from two days before symptoms begin to six days after they end. The virus can also spread from people who are infected but have no symptoms.
Call the doctor if you suspect that you or your child has mumps. If your child has been diagnosed with mumps, keep track of his or her temperature and call the doctor if it goes above 101ºF (38.3ºC).
Measles, also called rubeola, is a highly contagious respiratory infection that's caused by a virus. It causes a total-body skin rash and flu-like symptoms, including a fever, cough, and runny nose.
Call the doctor immediately if you suspect that your child has measles. Also, it's important to get medical care following measles exposure, especially if your child:
- is an infant
- is taking medicines that suppress the immune system
- has tuberculosis, cancer, or a disease that affects the immune system
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