Mumps outbreak at high school after Independence Day party — report

Mumps outbreak at high school after Independence Day party — report

12th graders thought to have contracted disease after sharing cups at event; teens suffered only minor symptoms due to inoculation; Health Ministry issues Tel Aviv measles warning

File: Illustrative photo of a vaccination. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
File: Illustrative photo of a vaccination. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

The Health Ministry said there was an outbreak of mumps among students at a high school in the center of the country, even though they had all received the standard vaccination shots against the virus when they were younger, Channel 12 news reported Tuesday.

Up to 20 students in the 12th grade at Maccabim Reut high school caught mumps after apparently sharing drinking cups at an Independence Day party earlier this month, the ministry said.

However, they suffered minor symptoms and none were hospitalized, the TV report noted, assessing that because the mumps vaccination is only 90% successful there is always a possibility some of those vaccinated may catch it.

The ministry announced a vaccination program will take place at the school on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the local Ramle Health Bureau is continuing its epidemiological investigations, which will determine its recommendations on contact with those infected who are not from the school, the Health Ministry said.

The mumps virus causes swelling of the parotid glands, the salivary glands under the ears, along with other symptoms like fever, sore throat and headaches.

Also on Tuesday, the Health Ministry issued a measles alert for several locations in Tel Aviv, where there is suspicion that people infected with the virus were present over the weekend.

The ministry warned that anyone who was present at a number of specific Tel Aviv venues at certain times on May 25-24, and had not been vaccinated against measles, should immediately go to the nearest Health Ministry bureau or contact the ministry on *5400 to find out if they need medical attention.

Times and locations listed in the statement:

May 24, 2:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. in the lobby of the Cinema Hotel, Zamenhof Street.

May 24, 5:30 p.m.-9 p.m. in the Dalida restaurant on Zevulun Street.

May 24, 7:30 p.m.-midnight at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque, at the Docaviv International Documentary Film Festival.

May 25, 6 p.m.-11 p.m. at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque, in the lobby and Theater 1, as well as the Joya restaurant inside the complex.

The ministry said that anyone who was at those locations during the specified times, and is suffering from cough, runny nose, eye inflammation and/or rash, should avoid public spaces — including work — to prevent possibly spreading the disease.

“If you are suffering from symptoms and need a medical examination, please contact a clinic or any other medical institution and make an appointment ahead of arriving or alternatively notify the staff [of your condition] immediately upon arrival at the medical institution.”

Measles is making a resurgence in Israel due primarily to parents not vaccinating their children. Up to 45,000 children, mostly from ultra-Orthodox families, are not vaccinated at all, Channel 12 news reported last month.

There were 3,600 recorded cases of measles between March 2018 and February 2019, according to the Health Ministry. Infections have mostly centered on the country’s ultra-Orthodox community.

In November, a toddler in Jerusalem died of the disease, the first recorded death from measles in Israel in the past 15 years. A month later, an 82-year-old woman became the second fatality.

In New York, too, officials are struggling to contain a swelling number of measles cases centered in ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods while battling lawsuits over their efforts to require vaccinations.

US health officials have confirmed 329 cases of measles in New York City and 184 cases in nearby Rockland County since the outbreak began in October.

The measles cases in Rockland and in Brooklyn have been traced to unvaccinated members of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community who traveled to Israel. Orthodox Jewish leaders say a small faction of vaccine opponents in the community has allowed the disease to spread.

AP contributed to this report.

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