TOPEKA, Kan. – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment have reported a case of mumps in an adult who is a Johnson County, Kan., resident. The case is associated with an ongoing outbreak of mumps at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Mo.
Mumps is a contagious disease caused by a virus. After the introduction of the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine, mumps became less common in the United States. From year to year, mumps cases can range from roughly a couple hundred to a couple thousand. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 4,258 cases have been reported in the U.S. as of Dec. 3, 2016, and seven states have reported more than 100 cases each. Mumps outbreaks are ongoing in the nearby states of Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas.
Mumps typically starts with a few days of fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness and loss of appetite, followed by swollen salivary glands. Mumps can occasionally cause complications, including inflammation of the testicles or ovaries, meningitis or encephalitis. Most people with mumps recover completely in a few weeks.
Mumps spreads through saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose or throat. An infected person can spread the virus through the following:
- Coughing, sneezing or talking.
- Sharing items, such as cups or eating utensils, with others.
- Touching objects or surfaces with unwashed hands that are then touched by others.
Mumps likely spreads before the salivary glands begin to swell and up to five days after the swelling begins.
“If you have symptoms of mumps, stay home for five days after you become sick, except to see a healthcare provider,” said Lougene Marsh, JCDHE director.
In addition to staying away from others when you have mumps, you can help prevent the virus from spreading by taking the following precautions:
- Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and put your used tissue in the trash can. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands.
- Washing your hands often with soap and water.
- Avoiding sharing drinks or eating utensils.
- Disinfecting frequently touched surfaces, such as toys, doorknobs, tables and counters.
MMR vaccine prevents most, but not all, cases of mumps and complications caused by the disease. People who have received two doses of the MMR vaccine are about nine times less likely to get mumps than unvaccinated people who have the same exposure to mumps virus. However, some people who receive two doses of MMR can still get mumps, especially if they have prolonged, close contact with someone who has the disease. If a vaccinated person does get mumps, they will likely have less severe illness than an unvaccinated person.
“The best way to reduce your chance of getting the disease is by being vaccinated. Protect your children by making sure they have the MMR vaccine when they are 12 to 15 months old, and again before they enter kindergarten,” said KDHE Secretary Susan Mosier.
For more information about mumps, see www.cdc.gov/mumps/index.html.
Information thanks to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.