East Boston elementary school student tests positive for mumps

A third-grader at an East Boston elementary school has tested positive for the mumps, school officials say.

Otis Elementary School informed parents via automated phone call Friday of the health issue at the school after officials were made aware of the positive mumps test by the Boston Public Health Commission.

In a letter to parents, the school said: “We do not believe the student has come into close contact with any students in our school who are not vaccinated. It’s important to note that the mumps can only be transmitted from one person to another through close contact.”

The school says all students are required to provide documentation of proof of vaccinations for MMR (mumps, measles, and rubella).

“At the Otis School, nearly all of our students have provided documentation of their vaccinations. However, a very small number of students have only provided partial documentation of vaccinations, or have not provided any records,” the statement continued. “We are contacting these families to assist them. If you are unsure if your child has had the appropriate vaccinations, please contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible.”

Mumps, a contagious illness that is caused by a virus, can be spread through the air to persons close by (within three to six feet) when the infected person coughs or sneezes.

Mumps can also be spread by contact with infected secretions. Persons are most contagious two days before symptoms begin until five days after onset of disease.

The most common symptoms are a low-grade fever, headache, muscle pain and swelling in the salivary glands.

Symptoms can appear 12 to 25 days after contact with an infected person (usually 16 to 18 days).

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