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Mumps hits Conyers school

CONYERS - Parents of students at Conyers Middle School are advised to keep a close watch on their children this week after one student was diagnosed with mumps.

Early Friday evening, school administrators notified parents through a ConnectEd automated phone message that a student's primary care physician diagnosed her with mumps, a virus that causes fever, aches and gland swelling.

"As you know, this is contagious," school Principal Maryland Nesmith said in the message. "If your child has not been vaccinated, you need to take precautions."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, children should get their first dose of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine between the ages of 12 and 15 months old. The second dose should be given between the ages of 4 and 6 years or before they start kindergarten; however, children can get a second dose at any age, as long as it is more than 28 days after the first dose. The CDC reports that the vaccine can prevent the disease but no treatment is available.

Severe complications from mumps, which are rare, include brain inflammation, spontaneous abortion and deafness, according to the CDC.

Nesmith warned parents to look for symptoms like a stiff neck or severe headache, vomiting or other sickness. Fatigue, loss of appetite and swelling of the salivary glands also are symptoms after being transmitted through direct contact with saliva, according to the CDC.

Cindy Ball, director of community relations for RCPS, said this is the only case of mumps that she is aware of that has been reported in Rockdale County schools. Vernon Goins, public information officer for the East Metro Health District, which includes Rockdale, Newton and Gwinnett counties, said he has not received any reports of mumps from the east metro district.

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@newtoncitizen.com.