CORRECTION: Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, GA investigating possible case of mumps, not measles

Georgia Department of Public Health does say it is investigating a reported “outbreak” of mumps at the facility.

CORRECTION: Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, GA investigating possible case of mumps, not measles
CoreCivic reports that it is looking into a possible case of mumps that remains unverified by lab tests. (Source: Sharifa Jackson)

STEWART COUNTY, GA (WTVM) - Stewart Detention Center may have one case of mumps and not an “outbreak of measles” as previously reported by WTVM News Leader 9.

Rodney King, Manager, Public Affairs for CoreCivic, the company that operates the facility, said that they are looking into one possible case, but to date, lab tests have not yet confirmed a case of mumps. He says, via email, there are “no reported or diagnosed cases of measles among staff or detainees, at the Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, GA.”

Mr. King continued:

“To date, one detainee has presented as symptomatic for mumps. Out of an abundance of caution, the medical and facility staff initiated cohort protocols. This was done in accordance with the standard medical practice in order to limit exposure to the virus. Detainees exposed to the virus must remain under cohort protocols until the incubation period has passed (12-25 days) to be certain they are not infected. Until then, detainees under cohort protocols have access to all regular services but may not move freely about the facility.”

King’s follow-up email confirmed that laboratory tests on that detainee have yet to be positive for “mumps”.

Nancy Nydam, Director of Communications for The Georgia Department of Public Health, also confirms that there is not an outbreak of measles at the facility. However, she did write “An outbreak of mumps has been reported at the facility and the investigation is ongoing.” With only a possible case of mumps, WTVM News Leader 9 asked for clarification, Mrs. Nydam explained:

“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an outbreak is the occurrence of more cases of a disease than would normally be expected in a specific place or group of people over a given period of time. That could mean, in some cases as few as two or three cases depending on the disease.”

So how could one unverified case of mumps at Stewart Detention Center be deemed an “outbreak”? Nydam explains it much like a clinical diagnosis you may get from your doctor. Certain symptoms might suggest the flu but you might not necessarily have a lab test to confirm it. Similarly, a “flu outbreak” is not laboratory-verified.

The Georgia Department of Public Health does encourage vaccinations. Nydam writes: “Vaccination is the best protection against measles and mumps. Two doses of MMR vaccine are about 97% effective at preventing measles; one dose is about 93% effective.”

“It is very important for children to be immunized against these diseases. Children who are not vaccinated, when they are exposed to illnesses, measles, mumps, chicken pox, they can spread it to people who are immune-compromised,” said Stewart County School nurse, Polly Seward.

There have been no reports of outside of the facility.

Calls to the prison warden Thursday were not returned.

State and county health departments are investigating.

WTVM News Leader 9 regrets our error in misreporting “measles” for “mumps”.

Learn more about mumps here. Learn more about measles here.

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