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UPDATED: State mumps outbreak may have arrived in Ferndale – possible case at FHS

Update 1/27/17 4:30pm
The Whatcom County Health Department today clarified there has been no confirmed cases of the mumps in Whatcom County, including at FHS. This is a suspected case and they are awaiting lab results which, according to WCHD Emergency Response Specialist Mark Raaka, can take about a week.

The individual appears to not have come in contact with anyone with a confirmed case of mumps, according to Raaka.

The headline of this story and other elements have been updated to reflect this new information.

Original Story
The Ferndale School District says they have been notified by the Whatcom County Health Department (WCHD) of a person diagnosed possibly with mumps at Ferndale High School.

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Mumps is a contagious disease caused by a virus spread between people via saliva and mucus and can cause long-term health problems.

The District says, “The district and department are working together to notify all families and individuals who may have had possible exposure to the individual.”

letter from the WCHD posted on the District’s website explains,

“If more cases occur within the school, the exclusion measures may be required of all students and staff at the school who do not have documentation of two doses of MMR or other proof of immunity, not just close contacts.”

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The exclusion measures referred to are explained in more detail in the letter,

“To protect your child and minimize the chances of your child being excluded from school during an outbreak, please make sure your child has completed two doses of MMR, the first dose after 12 months of age and the second dose at least 28 days later.  If your child has had one dose of MMR over a month ago, please complete the series with the second MMR or MMRV vaccine.  If your child does not have documentation of two doses of vaccine and if there is an outbreak of mumps at the school, all students and staff without documentation of two doses of MMR (or proof of immunity by blood test) may be excluded from school from day 12 after their first exposure to day 25 after their last possible exposure to a case.  They may return sooner if they provide documentation of receiving their first or final MMR vaccination if they are starting or completing the series.”

Washington State Department of Health (WSDH) put out an alert about a mumps outbreak occurring in other counties in the State last month. As of yesterday, January 25th, the number of current mumps cases by county was reported as follows.



King County


Pierce County




Spokane County


Yakima County 1



This latest reported case will add Whatcom County to the list when an update is released on February 1st.

Symptoms, according to the WCHD, typically include fever, headache, and swelling of the cheeks and jaw. In rare cases, mumps can lead to more serious complications that may require hospitalization. Up to 30% of people with mumps infection will have no symptoms.

If you suspect you or someone else of having mumps, the WSDH advises to avoid kissing, hugging and other close contact with anyone who is suspected of having mumps. If you have been exposed to mumps and feel ill, stay home to help prevent the spread of the disease and contact your healthcare provider.

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