Washington State is experiencing
a Mumps outbreak and while this
may be low on many peoples radar this is an issue for individuals who are considered vulnerable such as those with chronic healthcare conditions or compromised immune systems. This can also be a threat for the disability community because of how quickly mumps can spread within a closed community. This can be seen in where and how the outbreak has spread. Spokane and King County, where the numbers have been in the triple digits with most of those affected in school and college settings. Being aware and knowing where to get information can help you protect yourself and your family.
Here are some important facts about Mumps, some preventative measures, care if you have mumps in your home and the counties that are hardest hit. Here is some pertinent information from the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases:
What is Mumps?
Mumps is an acute viral disease that is spread from person to person by coughing or sneezing. Some people may have no symptoms or very mild symptoms but they can still pass the virus on to others.
The symptoms of mumps include a low-grade fever and swelling or tenderness of one or more of the salivary glands in the cheeks and under the jaw. In males who have gone through puberty, up to 30 percent may experience testicular pain and swelling.
Symptoms usually appear between 12 and 25 days after a person has been exposed to the mumps virus. As many as 30 to 40 percent of infected people will not have symptoms and nearly 50 percent will have non-specific or mostly respiratory symptoms, with or without infection in the salivary glands.
There is a vaccine to protect against mumps. The vaccine is given as part of a combination vaccine, called the MMR vaccine that protects against measles, mumps, and rubella. – See more at:
There were 756 confirmed cases as of April 14th, 2017 in 13 counties and while many of those counties are in the single digits, Spokane, King, Pierce, Grant, and Snohomish have experienced double and triple digit numbers. Spokane County alone has had 306 cases. King county has had 276 cases and have a significant number of these cases on college campuses where good personal hygiene is often not followed and there are lots of people together in small living quarters.
Here are some recommendations made by the State Department of Health:
What can you do to prevent the spread of mumps?
- The best protection against mumps is the MMR vaccine (combination MMR and varicella), which protects against measles, mumps, and rubella viruses.
- If you don’t think you ever had MMR vaccine, contact your healthcare provider for immunizations or a blood test as soon as possible.
- If you don’t have a healthcare provider, call your local health department or the Family Health Hotline at 1-800-322-2588.
- If you think you have been exposed to mumps, contact your healthcare provider for advice.
- If you become ill after a possible exposure to mumps:
- Contact your healthcare provider and ask to be evaluated for possible mumps.
- Protect other people – Stay away from other people to avoid exposing them to mumps.
Mumps can be a serious illness, especially for adults so it is important to pay attention if you think you may have been exposed. Here are some links to give you more information.