A Houston High School student has tested positive for mumps.

The district sent letters home Friday to parents and guardians informing them “your child may have been exposed to a person with mumps at the Houston R-1 School District.” The letter was posted on the district’s Facebook page Friday morning.

Dr. Allen Moss, superintendent of Houston Schools, said the district received information about the situation last Thursday night. The case was confirmed Friday morning by the Texas County Healthy Department, he said.

“We want everyone to know what is going on and what to watch for,” Moss said. “If your child has symptoms, get them to a doctor or healthcare provider.”

Michele Moseley, one of the district’s two nurses, said the student with the positive test is required by the health department to be quarantined for 7-10 days.

Moseley said 16 students on campus who did not have the required vaccination — six in the middle school and 10 in the high school — were required to leave school Friday. They were allowed to return upon receiving the vaccination from the health department or a health provider. Moseley said 13 of the 16 students received the required shot and returned.

The three students who were not vaccinated cannot return to school for 21 days. Moseley said two families chose not to be vaccinated for religious beliefs and one for medical reasons.

Moss said the district is working closely with the health department to follow all procedures and precautions.

“We want to do what we can do to keep it from spreading,” Moss said.

Mumps is a contagious viral illness. Symptoms can include swollen salivary glands and cheeks as well as low-grade fevers, although may people do not have symptoms. It is spread through respiratory droplets — coughing and sneezing — and saliva. Sharing cups and utensils may spread the virus.

Persons with mumps are infectious three days before to five days after the onset of parotitis. Health officials say anyone diagnosed with or suspected of having mumps should stay home for five days.

Vaccination is the best protection against the mumps infection. Children typically receive the first mumps, measles and rubella vaccine (MMR) at 12-15 months and a second dose between the ages of 4 and 6. Adults who have not had two doses of the MMR vaccine can receive it.

A mumps outbreak is ongoing at the University of Missouri, where 193 confirmed and probable cases have been reported. Events on campus have been canceled due to the situation.

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