The Arkansas Department of Health requires the students to stay out of school until five days after they are no longer showing symptoms. The ADH is also requiring students who are not vaccinated to remain out of school until they have either had the vaccine or for a period up to 26 days.
"Last week we were in the high 20s at the end of last week, and we come back this week and we only have four," said Rick Schaeffer, Springdale school district spokesman. "The Department of Health told us it would start to level off and we're happy to see that." The health department also updated the number of suspected and confirmed mumps cases to 76 from 64 the day before.
"We think it's going to get worse before it gets better," said Dr. Dirk Haselow, an Arkansas state epidemiologist. "What we have seen up until this point is an increase in cases every week. So this is still amplifying, it's not dampening."
Community clinics are being set up by ADH, which are targeted toward people who are more at risk of being exposed to mumps. A mass clinic will be open to the public on September 21, but details are still be finalized, said Haselow.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mumps is a viral illness that is transmitted by direct contact with respiratory droplets or saliva from an infected person. Symptoms include painful, swollen salivary glands that show up as puffy cheeks and swollen jaw. Boys may also have painful, swollen testicles. Other symptoms include fever, headache, muscles aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite.
There is no treatment, and symptoms usually resolve themselves within a few weeks. Mumps is usually a mild disease in children, but adults may have more serious disease with complications.