October 2, 2006
More possible cases of the mumps at the University of Virginia has the Charlottesville community on high alert. This time the concern stretches farther that the grounds at the university as a new group in Charlottesville is affected.
One student at the University of Virginia contracted the mumps two weeks ago. The health department in Charlottesville and UVa acted quickly to treat those around the student. Days later, another student showed signs of the illness, and now even more are coming forward.
"We don't officially have an outbreak, but seven cases of probable mumps have been reported to us, so at this point we are responding as if we have an outbreak," said Thomas Jefferson Health Office Director Doctor Lilian Peake.
The health department says one of those seven cases involves an Albemarle County kindergarten student.
"We are working with community to educate and prepare for future cases," added Dr. Peake.
While all seven cases are probable cases, school officials are not telling which elementary school the kindergartner goes to. They are making sure parents know what is going on.
"Our health department has provided us a letter to send home with all the students, so we can alert them that there is one case," said Dr. Diane Behrens.
The high number of probable cases coming forward following treatment of other people with mumps is unusual. Still, the health department is not saying we are dealing with a mumps outbreak, but that could change as testing continues.
There has not been an outbreak in this area for several years.
The health department will try to keep it that way by making sure everyone in contact with anyone showing symptoms gets their shots.