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DOE preventing spread of infectious diseases

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by Michele Catahay

Guam - While it's only July, the Department of Education is encouraging parents to ensure their child's shot records are up to date. Before last school year ended, DOE saw a spike in the number of mumps cases reported.

DOE Student Support Services Administrator Jessica Camacho says school health counselors are being trained over the summertime to look over students' shot records.  "During the summer," she explained, "actually at the end of the school year, the nurses have reviewed all the immunization shot records of students and they have already prepared some referrals and have asked our parent family community outreach social workers to go out there to complete those referrals and follow up with the families."

Several outreach programs were conducted last month in collaboration with the Guam Parent Information Research Center. In addition, Public Health is expected to hold immunization clinics this month and next. Camacho says parents need to know whether their children are up to date before entering the school come August.

"With their DTPs and their tuberculosis shots. Their TB shots need to be up to date within a year, however if they come from off-island, even if you received your shot records from a U.S. clinic, it has to be good within six months as well, so they need to make sure that's updated because they need to make sure that they monitor shots very closely," added Camacho.

DOE was faced with the mumps outbreak last school year and Camacho is hoping the department will be better prepared this time around. She says DOE is looking at tightening its standard operating procedures when it comes to this matter.  "If they're not updated, there's a possibility that you will not be able to enter school at the time, but we will work very closely with the families to ensure that we get this information out, we encourage them and that the student gets immunize before they get into the school," she said.

Camacho reminds parents that the school year is just around the corner. She also encourages them to take advantage of the free clinics hosted by Public Health, adding that DOE wants to make sure students are in a safe and healthy environment.

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