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Tacoma middle school excludes 20 students after confirmed mumps case

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TACOMA, Wash. – Tacoma Public Schools has excluded 20 students at Jason Lee Middle School after the district’s first confirmed mumps case.

The district alerted these students Tuesday evening, saying that until they receive the required MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine, they cannot attend classes or after-school activities.

"The mumps outbreak in Pierce County is spreading," said Nigel Turner, communicable disease division director at Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department.

"Public health is essential to control these outbreaks, limit their effects on the community, and inform the public about how to respond to disease threats," Turner said.

The district confirmed a middle school student contracted the virus and was contagious Jan. 10 and 11. The student has been cleared to return to school, according to county health officials.

Mumps is a viral illness, characterized by puffy cheeks, a swollen jaw, and oftentimes a fever and fatigue.

According to the state Health Department, there have been 235 confirmed and probable mumps cases in the state this season, with 143 in King County and 32 in Pierce County.

Free mumps vaccinations are available at the South Hill Mall in Puyallup on Tuesday through Friday. More information on the mumps can be found here.

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