Utah health officials urge vaccination as 13 cases of mumps confirmed statewide so far this year

SALT LAKE CITY - Health department officials are urging Utahns to vaccinate their children after confirming 13 cases of mumps statewide so far this year.

Mike Grimlie, a public information officer for the Central Utah Public Health Department, said there are now six cases among residents in the northern Sanpete County area.

There are another five potential cases in that region awaiting confirmation from lab tests.

The Utah Department of Health said there have been a total of 13 cases confirmed statewide, including the six in Sanpete County. Specific details about the timelines and locations of those other 7 cases were not immediately available.

Experts said vaccination is the best way to prevent the spread of these diseases

"We're encouraging parents to get their kids vaccinated, fully vaccinated—work with your pediatricians to ensure that your child is fully vaccinated and we can prevent these diseases," said Dr. Allyn Nakashima, program manager for the Utah Department of Health.

Two of the six cases in central Utah were reported last month. The North Sanpete County School District excluded unvaccinated students from school last month in response.

A student in the district was diagnosed with mumps in April, and a second person was diagnosed within the county.

The ban on unvaccinated students was triggered by state law, and Thursday officials said excluded students will be allowed back on Monday.

Sam Ray, Superintendent of North Sanpete County Schools, said at one of the schools in the district about 10 percent of students were unvaccinated for MMR—measles, mumps and rubella.

The Central Utah Public Health Department said signs and symptoms of mumps include fever, muscle aches, swelling of the salivary glands, and a tender jaw.

They also said the best way to prevent mumps is with a vaccination.

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