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Heber Family: Immunized 11-Year-Old Tests Positive For Mumps

HEBER CITY, Utah — A Heber family says their fully-immunized son has tested positive for mumps, but “based on criteria established by the Utah Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Health Department classified this as a suspected case of mumps.”

Inside a classroom at Old Mill Elementary school in Heber City isn’t the time or place you would expect to receive this type of test result. But that’s exactly what happened to 11 year old Finn Price.

“So they’re like, ‘Wait, who got mumps?’”

Finn’s parents say the symptoms began last Wednesday when Finn came down with a fever and a swollen jaw.

“Finn was complaining that his jaw hurt,” his father Kyle Price says. “And we just thought he wanted to stay up later.”

Bethe Price remembers seeing her son’s swollen jaw the next morning and saying, “I think he has the mumps! But he’s been fully immunized so that would surprise me.”

Bethe says Finn had already had two doses of the MMR vaccine which, according to the CDC, meant he was 88% less likely to get the contagious disease, compared to one dose which reduces the risk for mumps by 78%.

“At the beginning I just really didn’t want to live,” Finn remembers feeling.

The Prices say Finn’s pediatrician thought it was a blocked salivary gland, but Bethe wanted to be sure and requested a blood test during their doctor’s visit on Thursday.

By Sunday, Finn was feeling good and the next day he returned to school without any apparent symptoms.

It wasn’t until Wednesday that the Price’s got a call from his pediatrician. Finn was in class when his school teacher received the message and broke the news that he had tested positive for mumps.

Wednesday is also the day that Utah County Health officials announced that an unvaccinated adult had the disease in their county.

A recent mumps outbreak in Sanpete County includes a total of seven positive mumps cases and six suspected cases.

The Wasatch Health Department is calling Finn’s incident a suspected case.

“Since he’s vaccinated and he’s the only one they call it a suspected case,” Bethe said.

A joint statement from the Wasatch School District and Health Department says:

“Due to the nature of the case being both isolated and suspected, the Wasatch County Health Department has recommended no students be excluded from school at this point. District personnel and the Wasatch County Health Department will continue to closely monitor the situation and notify parents/guardians immediately of any changes to this recommendation.”

Still, Bethe posted her son’s story on social media and wanted to make sure her community was aware of her son’s case.

“If it was someone else, I would want to know,” she said.

Health officials say a person with mumps is contagious two days before symptoms begin and five days after they begin.

The Wasatch County statement also says:

“Anyone experiencing swelling of the cheek or jaw in combination with any of the above symptoms should call their healthcare provider immediately, and should notify them of the symptoms prior to arriving…The best method of prevention for mumps is via the MMR vaccine. Those who wish to ensure they are fully immunized may do so either through their local health department or healthcare provider. As a note, mumps should not be mistaken for the widely publicized virus, measles. There are currently no confirmed or suspected cases of measles in Utah.”

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