Kim Rupp, Cherokee County Health Nurse, noted that she has been busy with disease research lately, she informed the Cherokee County Board of Supervisors.
On a positive note, the two high school students in Cherokee who had meningitis are doing much better now. Many people in the county, particularly children and young adults, were immunized as the result of cases of meningitis in the county. An Aurelia High School student died in March.
There are two types of immunization. Metamune is regarded as effective for a period of three to five years. A more recent vaccine, Menactra, is good for about 10 years. Menactra is not approved for children under 11.
The bad news is that Iowa is having a mumps epidemic. Although there has not been a confirmed case in Cherokee County, there likely will be. Anyone who has not had two mumps vaccinations, a first one plus a booster, should consider being vaccinated again.
Rupp said that having two mumps vaccinations is 95 percent effective in providing immunity. "No vaccine is 100 percent effective," she said.
Mumps vaccinations take a week to two weeks before providing immunity so it would be better to have immunization right away before there are local cases reported. Young people are at high risk from mumps and adolescent males are particularly vulnerable to complications.
More information can be found on the Iowa Department of Health website www.idph.state.ia.us.
A less serious concern, but adding to Rupp's recent work load is reported rabies in a couple of skunks in the county. Rupp said that is nothing unusual in the spring. One skunk has bit a dog and the family has been treated as a precaution.