“I think it’s a real problem,” Garfield County Health Department confirms mumps outbreak

GARFIELD COUNTY, Okla. – State health officials said recent cases of the mumps in Garfield County originated in central Arkansas.

"I think it's a problem. I think it's a real problem,” said JJ Krenshaw, an Enid parent.

The Garfield County Health Department confirms four cases of the mumps, including one at Enid High School and another at Longfellow Middle Schools.

The number could grow, with more than 30 other suspected cases in Garfield County that are being investigated.

The ages range from less than 1 to 41.

State health officials tell us the initial outbreak was linked to central Arkansas.

Those affected here in Oklahoma had contact with people in that area.

"Mumps is not something that you deal with all the time or even every year,” said Dr. Darrell Floyd, the Enid Public Schools superintendent.

Enid Public School officials said they’re taking this health threat seriously.

The students with mumps are not in school right now, and letters have been sent to parents.

"We try to get accurate information to parents. We try to work hand in hand with our health agencies and try to keep our kids as safe and secure as possibly,” Floyd said.

The virus usually lasts for a few weeks, and some cases can lead to serious complications, including inflammation of the brain and reproductive organs.

Health officials want children to be vaccinated but admit some kids can still get the mumps.

"The key point about the MMR vaccine is, overall, it's 88 percent effective, which means that there could be some individuals that will experience symptoms due to mumps if they were exposed,” said Laurence Burnsed, an epidemiologist.

Meanwhile, concerned parents are just hoping it’s contained quickly.

"I just come from a background where I feel like the research has been done, it's never going to be a perfect science but it's worth the risk for me to vaccinate my children,” said Melissa Land.

"It's scary, you know, mumps is a very bad disease, you know, you don't want anybody to have that, especially your own kids,” Krenshaw said.

Health officials said they believe some of those infected were vaccinated.