Mumps outbreak: Schools in Free State affected

Experts urge parents to ensure their kids are fully vaccinated.(Pic: by Tim Reckmann)

The mumps outbreak is affecting schooling in Botshabelo in the Free State, with at least 100 children testing positive. The Limpopo Health Department is urging parents to monitor symptoms.

“Symptoms include headache,  fever, malaise and loss of appetite. The glands near the ears swell resulting in puffy cheeks and swollen jaw. It causes severe pain. Such swelling usually lasts 2-3 days. We call on parents to seek medical attention if they notice these symptoms,” says department spokesperson Mondli Mvambi.  

Thari ya Tshepe Primary School’s principal Katiba Poone says the local clinic contacted him on Monday after treating a number of his pupils. He says he alerted parents and contacted other schools.

“I shared information with other principals and I learnt that the outbreak has affected many schools in Botshabelo and Mangaung. We were supposed to have had a campaign with the Health Department for deworming we have since postponed it,” says  Poone.

Mumps cases expected to spike further

Gertrude Monatja whose son tested positive says he could not eat due to swelling in his mouth.

“With my child, it began like signs of flu until I saw him swollen inside his mouth. I decided to bring him to the clinic for help. They only gave him Panado and pain tablets,” Monatja says. There is currently no cure for mumps. Supportive treatment like bed rest and increased fluid intake is recommended.

Meanwhile, local clinic nurse, Sister Jane Mokhele says the illness is highly transferable. “Mumps is a highly contagious disease. We will see numbers growing even more. It spreads through contact with an infected person’s saliva and mucus. Children aged 5 to 9 years old are most commonly affected, but it can affect people of all ages,” she says.

She warned kids from sharing food and especially sweets. “Parents should warn their children from sharing candy. It is normal for kids to transfer the disease from saliva on candy sweets to another kid. This is one of many reasons for it to spread in the young ones,” she says.  – Health-e News 

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