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 November 21 , 2003 


Health Holiday: Extended break for students as mumps continue spread in Lori


Schools remain closed in the Lori region, as the mumps epidemic continues to affect schoolchildren in the region.

On November 3, schools were ordered closed for one week, in hopes of combating the childhood-disease spread. But, with more incidence of cases, the school closer has been extended through this week, with schools schedule to resume classes Monday (November 24).

"This time kindergartens of the region have been closed as well, and it's not clear whether they will resume November 24 or not," says head of the national immunization project of Armenia, deputy director of the center for disease control and prevention at the Ministry of Health Sirak Sukiasyan.

Some 550 cases of mumps have been registered in Lori since September.

"It is mainly the school age children who get parotitis (mumps)," says the Head of the Regional Anti-epidemic and Sanitation Department of Lori Karineh Mirzoyan. "The season for parotitis is autumn, and the infection mainly spreads in schools through respiratory airways due to children interaction. For that reason, in order to avoid spreading of the epidemic, it was appropriate to close the schools. This is normal, and there is no need to make a fuss."

Sukiasyan adds, however, that previous vaccination methods (each child getting a shot at age 18-months) proved unsuccessful. Plus, because of a shortage of vaccines, a considerable number of children were not vaccinated.

"One of the main reasons for the current situation is poor quality of the vaccine. Special thermal conditions were required for the vaccine preservation, which the doctors failed to create due to hard conditions," Sukiasyan says.

The deputy director says that children who are now age 11 to 14 are particularly vulnerable because of ineffective vaccines. But Sukiasyan assures that the situation is stabilizing.

 


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Health Holiday: Extended break for students as mumps continue spread in Lori

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