Arkansas Department Of Health Urges Vaccination As Mumps Outbreak Grows

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SPRINGDALE (KFSM) -- The Arkansas Department of Health is urging people to keep up to date with their flu and Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccinations, as ADH continues to deal with mumps cases in Northwest Arkansas.

The ADH is investigating about 520 cases of mumps and suspected cases of mumps, said Dr. Gary Wheeler, Chief Medical Officer at the ADH. A third of those will likely turn out to be mumps, he added.

Original estimates and predictions have been adjusted since the first cases were discovered on August 31. Wheeler said he thinks the peak of the outbreak is close.

"What we have seen is a leveling off in the number of cases," Wheeler said. "We hope that that portends that we'll see a drop off in the next week or so."

The ADH held a second mass MMR vaccination clinic on Thursday. Tim Aynes, a local teacher, stopped by the Jones Center in Springdale to get both his flu and MMR vaccines.

"I'm a teacher, so I'm around it," Aynes said. "As you get older, you don't want to get that because it gets harder to get over."

Wheeler said more clinics will be held this fall as needed.

"We're really ramping up our efforts to communicate with all groups that live here in Northwest Arkansas, and make sure they get the message," Wheeler said.

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