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More mumps cases on the rise

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by Michele Catahay

Guam - More suspected mumps cases have been reported in the last several weeks. While the Department of Public Health has said it received over 100 cases since January, it's apparent the numbers may have increased dramatically.

The Department of Education says it's taking all precautionary measures to ensure the number of mumps cases is contained. According to Student Support Services Administrator Jessica Camacho, if the school health counselors suspect that any student or employee has symptoms of the mumps, he or she will be sent home until cleared by public health.

"What will happen though is that the student will asked to go get cleared by their medical physician but the student can come back after five days from the time they were asked to leave the school," she said.  "Even if they don't have a medical clearance. According to the CDC, as long as they don't display the symptoms."

While the first initial cases were reported out of Simon Sanchez High and JFK, Camacho says more northern schools are being closely observed. Those schools include Adacao Elementary, Chief Brodie, Machanaonao Elementary, Tamuning Elementary, Astumbo Middle, F.B. Leon Guerrero Middle, Untalan Middle and the J.P. Torres Alternative School. "JP Torres is not a northern school, but most of the schools who have been processed there are from the northern portion," he explained.

While school nurses are closely monitoring these cases, Camacho says private clinics and the hospital forward all data to public health to track confirmed cases. She says all but one public school have permanent nurses on campus. "All the schools have nurses assigned to them - with the exception of Simon Sanchez.  However, there was a rotation of nurses into that school, so they do have a nurse everyday of the week," she said.

In the meantime, Public Health Immunization Program Supervisor Annette Aguon tells KUAM News they're conducting active surveillance through schools, private clinics and the hospital to track the numbers and continue to update line listings. 

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