Thursday | December 14, 2017
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Mumps case confirmed at Hilo school

An individual at Chiefess Kapiolani Elementary School in Hilo has been infected with the mumps virus, the school confirmed in a letter Monday.

Principal Gregg Yonemori sent the letter home to parents and staff notifying them the infected person attended school for at least one day during the infectious period. It wasn’t specified if that person was a student or staff member or when the infection occurred.

The individual wasn’t named in the letter because of Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act requirements.

Forty-two documented mumps cases in Hawaii County have been confirmed since Thursday, when the state Department of Health last updated its online registry.

It’s unclear how many of those documented cases occurred in schools. At least one Naalehu Elementary School student was confirmed in August to have been infected with the virus.

State law does not require schools to notify parents when an infection occurs.

Under current privacy law, the DOH also does not release the number of students or staff at East Hawaii schools who are affected by mumps or the name of a school with confirmed mumps cases, “unless that particular school or the Hawaii Department of Education provides them authority to do so,” DOH spokesman Dennis Galaro said in an email in response to questions from the Tribune-Herald.

Galaro said the DOH works with affected schools — at their request — to send informational letters home to parents.

The Tribune-Herald received at least one call Monday from a Kapiolani parent upset about a perceived lack of information about the latest outbreak.

Yonemori referred comment Monday to the DOE, which confirmed the letter. The Tribune-Herald initially obtained Monday’s letter from a Kapiolani parent.

A person with mumps shouldn’t attend school, work or travel for at least nine days after the start of swollen salivary glands, the letter said.

The letter also advised students and staff to take extra precaution and said the school is working with the DOH to prevent the virus from spreading further.

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