Probable cases of mumps reported

Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department announced Dec. 9 it is investigating four probable cases of mumps in Pierce County, all associated with an outbreak involving at least one school in south King County. Additional information about the suspected Pierce County cases wasn't available. But in King County, at least 36 cases have been confirmed. Most involve students at public schools in the Auburn-Federal Way area. “Public health is essential to address disease outbreaks, especially those that cross county boundaries,” said Nigel Turner, communicable disease division director at Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. “We coordinate with partner agencies to protect the health of all people in the affected area." For those not familiar with mumps, here are some of the basics about the illness: What is mumps? Mumps is a highly contagious viral illness. An infected person can spread it through face-to-face contact by coughing, sneezing, or spraying saliva while talking. It can also spread by shared cups and eating utensils. What are the symptoms? Mumps are best known for causing puffy cheeks and a swollen jaw, the result of swollen salivary glands. The symptoms are: • Fever • Headache • Muscle Aches • Tiredness • Loss of appetite. Meningitis and encephalitis are rare complications of mumps. How can you prevent mumps? Immunization is the most effective way to prevent mumps. Everyone should make sure they are up to date on their measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine (MMR). Other ways to protect yourself: • Avoid contact with anyone infected with mumps. • Wash your hands with soap and water. • Don’t share cups and eating utensils. Who is more likely to get mumps? • Babies less than one year old. • Children older than one who have not received at least one dose of the MMR. • Adults born in or after 1957 and who haven't been vaccinated or haven't had mumps before. Health Department officials said they have reminded Pierce County school districts of steps to control a mumps outbreak. If an outbreak occurred in a school setting, the department would recommend the district exclude non-immunized students from school to minimize further exposure.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment