The mumps outbreak that began plaguing northwest Arkansas schools in August have grown almost tenfold since then. As of Thursday, 1351 cases of the virus are under investigation across the state, according to the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH). Of those, there are nine suspected in Faulkner and Pulaski County, the rest remaining in northwest Arkansas counties including Washington, Benton, and Madison. This is the largest number of cases reported over years, dwarfing reported cases from 2005 to 2014, according to ADH records.
In response to the outbreak, ADH is requiring students in the same school with vaccine exemptions for the MMR (Mumps, Measles, and Rubella) vaccine to be excluded from school for 26 days from the date of exposure and until the outbreak has ended. Students with non-medical exemptions, who receive the recommended doses of MMR vaccine, may return to school immediately.