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Parents warned about mumps in the West End

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HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Hundreds of West End children may have been exposed to mumps, the Henrico Health District informed parents in letters sent home with students at Godwin High School, Freeman High School, and Tuckahoe Middle School.

Potential cases of mumps were reported at those schools in late February.

Mumps is an acute viral disease that spreads through coughing, sneezing, or saliva.

Meghan Pearsall has two children in Henrico County Public School, one in middle school and the other in high school. She doesn't see much cause for concern after receiving a notification from the school.

"I think that the best you can do is vaccinate your kids and have them wash their hands and not share utensils," sheh said.

"To help control the spread of mumps within the community, please refrain from sharing items that come in contact with saliva, such as drink bottles, food, and lip balms," Henrico epidemiologist Laura Young instructed parents. "People who become infected with mumps may not show symptoms until 12 to 25 days after exposure, and they are typically infectious to others a few days prior to developing symptoms."

Those symptoms include headache, body aches, fever, and swollen and tender glands in the jaw.

The Henrico Health Department recommended school students and staff be on the lookout for those symptoms the rest of the month.

"We recommend that all individuals review their immunization status to ensure that they are up-to-date and discuss the need for vaccination with their healthcare provider," Young said. "Mumps can be prevented with MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine."

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