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Mumps Outbreaks Reported Across USA
Posted: Apr 10th, 2017 at 12:13PM
Since January 2017, hundreds of mumps cases have been recorded across the USA, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC had received reports of 1,242 mumps cases as of March 4. Mumps is a contagious viral disease with flu-like symptoms that can result in the swelling of the salivary glands and is no longer common within the USA. Cases of mumps can, however, range between several hundred to several thousand annually. For example, in 2012, only 229 cases were reported to the CDC.
KING-TV reported that in Washington State, King County and Seattle Health officials reported that a dozen students in Washington universities had contracted the illness. All these students were connected to fraternities and sororities. 563 cases of mumps and probable mumps have been reported across the state in 2017. According to the Washington State Health Department, this marks an increase from the 154 cases reported within the state in 2016. Health officials in Washington State are, therefore, urging residents to get immunized against the disease.
The Washington State Department of Health is also urging residents to take necessary precautions to prevent the spread of the disease such as avoiding hugging, kissing and any other close contact with infected individuals. Additionally, those infected with the disease are being encouraged to stay at home and to contact their health provider to curb the spread of the disease.
According to KFOR-TV, Tulsa County Health Department officials are investigating five confirmed mumps cases. Additionally, there are three other cases of mumps that are yet to be confirmed. Of the confirmed cases, one of them involves a student at the 7th Grade Center at Owasso Public Schools. Health officials across the state had warned parents to immunize their children against the disease last year after 279 cases of the disease were confirmed in Garfield County. Of these confirmed cases, 66 had previously been vaccinated against the disease.
This confirms that the effectiveness of the vaccine wanes over time. According to authorities from the Oklahoma State Department of Health, cases of the disease in McClain, Canadian, Woods and Tulsa counties were all connected to an outbreak in Garfield in Kay Counties.
Cases in Illinois
The Lake County Health Department in Illinois announced that it was partnering with the Barrington School District 220 for a vaccination clinic after four mumps cases were confirmed and 35 probable cases were identified in the area. The outbreak occurred at Barrington High School where the vaccination clinic is scheduled to start early next week for faculty, staff, and students affiliated with the high school.
For individuals who have received only one dose of the MMR vaccine, the health department is urging them to go get the second dose while for those who were born before 1957, the department is encouraging them to receive one dose of the vaccine.
The number of cases of mumps fluctuates annually. Health officials are concerned with the high numbers of mumps cases so early in 2017. The Director of Cleveland Clinic Children’s Center for Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Camille Sabella, says that whenever there is any type of outbreak, especially with vaccine-preventable diseases like mumps, they always get concerned. According to Sabella, the disease spreads fast among students, especially those in high school and college.
Get the Vaccine
The disease is spread through saliva and coughing and because these students are in close quarters, the infection tends to spread very quickly. To protect yourself against the disease, Sabella advises that it is important to ensure that your children receive both doses of the MMR vaccine in addition to doing common things such as washing your hands, staying away from infected individuals and not sharing drinks and cups.
She adds that beyond that, it's difficult to protect yourself against the disease because it's very contagious, especially for those in close quarters.
Children are usually given two doses of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine. The vaccine is the best protection against mumps. Even though the vaccine is not 100 percent effective, two doses of the vaccine give enough protection to protect against the diseases. It is, however, not too late for those who were not vaccinated or those who received only one dose of the vaccine to get immunized.
In 2016, 5,311 cases of mumps were reported to the CDC. According to an email from Ian Branam, a spokesman for the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the CDC, this is the highest number of mumps cases reported in a decade. He goes on to add that because mumps outbreaks are unpredictable, the CDC is not sure if the already reported levels of mumps cases witnessed during this first quarter of the year will continue for the rest of the year. Officials are investigating factors that could have contributed to the outbreak in 2016 in addition to whether the effectiveness of the vaccine wanes over time.
Even though the MMR vaccine is not 100 percent effective just like all other vaccines, it is extremely effective in providing long-term immunity against mumps. People are being encouraged to have themselves vaccinated since it is a step towards protecting yourself against the disease. Mumps is a highly contagious viral disease spread through saliva and respiratory secretions when one coughs, talks or sneezes. Approximately half of those who get infected with mumps show no or mild symptoms of the disease. Symptoms of the disease include fever, muscle aches, headaches, loss of appetite, tiredness and tender and swollen salivary glands under the ears on one or both sides.
To prevent the spread of the disease, it's not only important to get vaccinated. One should also practice good health and hygiene habits to minimize the spread of the disease. Frequent hand washing with soap and clean water, not sharing utensils, cups or cigarettes is highly encouraged. One should also minimize contact with individuals already infected with the disease and sanitize frequently touched surfaces.
Complications arising from the disease are rare but they include inflammation of the testicles, breasts, brain or ovaries. Mumps patients are considered contagious two days before and five days after parotid swelling. Those infected should contact a healthcare professional immediately.
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