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State health officials: Maybe it's not the mumps

Lab testing problems result in "inconsistencies"

Public health officials in Lane County and with the state's Department of Human Services said today that they cannot confirm the validity of most of the 58 cases of mumps reported in the state since April.

In a DHS statement, communicable disease manager Paul Cieslak said state laboratory technicians have detected "inconsistencies" in the test samples from patients thought to have had the illness.

"Because of these irregularities, we can no longer definitively say that these people had mumps," Cieslak said. "We regret the confusion this has caused."

Lab samples had tested positive for mumps in 53 of the cases.

The department still considers the cases "suspect" and is notifying state health departments and doctors of its findings. At least one case does appear confirmable, Cieslak said.

State public health officials are working with the federal Centers For Disease Control and Prevention to resolve the issue, which the department says is confined to mumps testing and does not affect other lab procedures.