Family Corner: Mumps Cases on the Rise


mumps outbreak

The rise in mumps cases in recent months is a stark reminder of the importance of vaccination to prevent this highly contagious disease. The state of Arkansas has reported nearly 2,900 confirmed and probable cases of mumps since last August, while the state of Washington has reported 624 confirmed and probable cases of mumps since last October. A large outbreak is also happening on the campus of the University of Missouri – Columbia, where more than 350 cases have been reported since the beginning of the 2016 fall semester. In addition, smaller outbreaks have been reported by several university campuses around the country in recent months.

Symptoms of Mumps

Mumps is caused by a highly contagious virus that is spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Symptoms include several days of fever, headache, muscles aches, fatigue and loss of appetite, followed by swelling in one or both salivary glands, just below the ear. Mumps can also lead to painful swelling of the testicles or ovaries, which may cause infertility in rare cases. Other rare complications include viral meningitis, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and deafness. Death from mumps is very rare.

Prevention is Crucial

Immunization with two doses of MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine is the most effective way to prevent mumps infections. Children should first be immunized with MMR vaccine at 12 to 15 months of age, and again at four to six years of age, prior to starting elementary school. MMR vaccine is also recommended for adults 18 years of age or older who were born after 1956, if they are unsure they have been vaccinated or had all three diseases.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that two doses of the MMR vaccine are 88% effective at preventing mumps. However, the CDC is currently examining the evidence and may recommend a third MMR dose in the future.

Individuals who think they may have been exposed to mumps and feel sick should stay home to avoid spreading the disease. Most people with mumps recover completely in 10 to 14 days.

Get Immunized at RediClinic

Protect yourself and those you love against mumps. Get immunized against the disease at RediClinic, where patients age 18 months and older can receive affordable, high-quality healthcare seven days a week. Make an online appointment to be seen at RediClinic same-day or next-day!

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