SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Health officials announced Tuesday that students at three high schools in San Diego County have tested positive for mumps and may have exposed others to the contagious virus in the last two weeks.
One person at each of the campuses -- High Tech High School International, La Jolla High School and San Pasqual High School -- tested positive for the virus, according to the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency, which did not specify whether the patients were students or staffers.
Students and faculty at the three schools are being advised to be aware of possible mumps symptoms, which can include a fever, headache, earache and salivary gland inflammation.
The exposures happened during normal school hours on Oct. 21-22 at High Tech High; Oct. 21-23, 25 and 28 at La Jolla High; and at San Pasqual High on Oct. 17-18 and 21-24.
Symptoms can show between 12 and 25 days after exposure, according to the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency.
"We are working closely with school officials to inform the school communities about the symptoms of mumps and vaccine recommendations," said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county's public health officer. "Because there is no prevention after exposure for mumps, people should be watching for symptoms and make sure they have all the recommended doses of measles, mumps and rubella immunizations."
County health officials have received reports of 47 mumps cases this year, the most in 25 years. Mumps cases statewide, nationwide and in Baja California are also outpacing the number of reported cases at this time last year.
The viral disease is passed through coughing, sneezing or close contact. Severe complications are often rare but can include meningitis, permanent hearing loss, a decrease in fertility and fetal loss for pregnant women in their first trimester. Most mumps patients recover without incident.
Health officials encouraged all residents to receive the measles-mumps- rubella vaccine to protect against developing the illnesses. The vaccine is recommended in two doses at 12 to 15 months old and at 4 to 6 years old. Residents can contact the county's immunization program at 866-358-2966 or at sdiz.org for more information on the vaccine.