As students scatter, Lyon County reports probable mumps case

Check immunization status, watch for symptoms

A probable case of mumps has prompted local health officials to take steps to protect affected residents. Flint Hills Community Health Center personnel evaluated and tested an Emporia State University student and then reported the case as probable to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

Health center staff members are reaching out to people who have been in contact with the student. If confirmed, this will be Lyon County’s first known case of mumps in several years.

“We are working with the student and the university to take care of all these people,” said Phillip Davis, health center CEO and Lyon County health officer. “We are working very hard to protect the health of students, faculty and other residents, as well as prevent the potential spread of disease.”

Renee Hively, health center chief operations officer and a registered nurse, said residents should check their immunizations status, get up to date as needed, and be aware of mumps symptoms.

“We always encourage everyone to be immunized according to the schedules recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” Hively said. “The best way to keep from getting mumps is by receiving the measles, mumps, rubella vaccine.”

There have been nearly 140 reported cases of mumps in Kansas in 2017. Though many of the recent mumps cases in Kansas have been in vaccinated individuals, Hively still recommends vaccination.

“Even though they aren’t preventing all mumps cases, immunization does make symptoms less severe,” Hively said. “Vaccines are safe and effective, and they help protect the community from disease.”

Knowing what symptoms to look for can also help prevent the spread of disease, said Melissa Smith, community health nurse at the health center.

“Many cases in Kansas have been associated with participation in sports and with universities, so it’s wise to be protected and know what symptoms to watch for,” Smith said. “Especially as the spring semester comes to a close, and students move away or travel for the summer, we want them to get medical attention if they have any symptoms.”

Hively said ESU students who are still on campus and think they have mumps should contact student health services for instructions on how to get testing and treatment – before walking in for care. Anyone who travels away from Emporia and suspects they have mumps should contact the local health department for care instructions.

According to KDHE, mumps is an acute viral infection transmitted through coughing, sneezing or talking, sharing cups or utensils, or touching objects or surfaces freshly soiled by infected respiratory secretions. Symptoms start with body aches, loss of appetite, fatigue, headache, and low-grade fever – eventually progressing to swollen salivary glands on one or both sides.

Symptoms usually appear 16-18 days after being infected, and mumps can be spread to others any time from two days before to five days after the onset of swelling.

Most people with mumps will recover completely, but serious complications include testicular inflammation in males, ovarian inflammation in females, aseptic meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain), and rarely encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), pancreatitis, deafness, and death.

For more information about Flint Hills Community Health Center, visit at 420 W. 15th Ave., Emporia, or call 620-342-4864. For more information about mumps, see www.cdc.gov/mumps.

Information thanks to Flint Hills Community Health Center.


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