Mumps outbreak forces charter school to start winter break early

Mumps outbreak forces charter school to start winter break early

WAIANAE, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Five people have fallen ill with mumps at Kamaile Academy, and there are two additional suspect cases, prompting officials to start the school's winter break early and extend it by five days.

The announcement was made in a letter to parents.

Officials said winter break at the public charter school in Waianae would begin Tuesday and continue through Jan. 16.

The school said starting the winter break two days early and extending it by a week "will allow us to get past the 25-day incubation period" for mumps.

So far this year, there have been 705 confirmed cases of mumps statewide, and 19 people have suffered from complications, the state Health Department reports. The large majority of those who have fallen ill have been on Oahu.

This year's outbreak is by far the largest number of cases Hawaii has seen in decades. In all of 2016, Hawaii saw just 10 total cases of mumps.

To tackle the growing outbreak of mumps, the state is recommending more people get vaccinated, even if they've already been vaccinated before.

While mumps spreads easily, it's mostly preventable with a two-dose vaccine. However, officials say mumps cases this year have been seen in vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.

Hawaii has seen an influx of mumps cases since March, when the Health Department was made aware of nine people with the viral infection.

Some people with mumps have very mild or no symptoms. The disease is not considered life-threatening, but there are some lasting side effects, including the swelling of salivary glands and swollen jaws.

Copyright 2017 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.