Schools in the Lori region (150 kilometers north
of Yerevan) have been closed this week due to
an outbreak of parotitis, commonly known as "mumps".
Across Vanadazor, Spitak and Stepanavan, more
than 200 children have been infected by the contagious
"During the year 520 infection cases have
been registered in Lori region," says Head
of the Regional Anti-epidemic and Sanitation Department
of Lori Karineh Mirzoyan. "However, a rapid
growth in the number of cases has been seen since
October, due to several reasons."
Mumps tend to be more prevalent at the end of
autumn, but according to Mirzoyan, one reason
for the latest outbreak is the lack of vaccinations.
Epidemiologists insist that vaccinations have
been thorough over the last years, but Mirzoyan
has a different opinion.
"Children of school age whose immune systems
are more fragile are more susceptible to this
disease," says Mirzoyan. "They must
regularly be vaccinated for preventing the disease.
However, four to five years ago there was a great
shortage of parotitis vaccines in the republic
as a result of which a considerable number of
children were not vaccinated. And this is a result."
Deputy Head of the Department on Anti-epidemic
and Sanitation Inspection of the Ministry of Healthcare
Ghazaros Hakobyan assures that the cause is weakness
of children's immune system and susceptibility
to the disease.
"Despite everything parotitis appears every
four to six years," he says. "There
are children who were vaccinated, however, they
were also infected with this disease."
Mirzoyan says that mumps is a dangerous disease
and medical workers carry out serious inspections
for detecting infected people and isolating them.
"Later in life boys who were sick with epidemic
parotitis could have complications such as meningitis
and sterility," says Mirzoyan. "And
girls could have sexual dysfunctions. That's why
it is important to treat the disease on time and
to prevent the spread of it at the same time."