- Independent Journalism From Today's Armenia
 November 7 , 2003 

Outbreak: Schools shut down to curb spread of mumps

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 childhood disease.

"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."





According to Agnes
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Holy Land

The blessing of the territory for a new church in Masis took place this week. It will be the first dominical temple in this town (for years it has been populated by Azerbaijanis) and the second biggest after the St. Grigor Lusavorich in Yerevan. The construction is estimated at $1 million and is sponsored by "Vardanyan Family" foundation.



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