The Center for Human Development Inc. Public Health Department has identified one confirmed case of mumps. Public Health is considering the situation to be an outbreak because early information suggests there may be more cases.

“We’re asking all residents to get a mumps vaccine unless they have already received two doses of vaccine. It is the best way to protect yourself, your family and the community,” said Connie Carter, Public Health Communicable Disease Nurse at the Center for Human Development, Inc. “Most people who get mumps will have mild illness that lasts a week or so. Some people may have serious health outcomes.” Those outcomes include testicular swelling, hearing loss, swelling around the brain and spinal cord, or brain damage.

It’s important for everyone to be vaccinated. It helps protect people for whom the vaccine might not work as well. Having high vaccine rates in the community also protects those who can’t be vaccinated because they are too young or have a health condition that prevents it. Health care workers may have contact with people whose health status makes them more prone to getting mumps. So, it is especially important for health care workers to keep their vaccine records up-to–date.

Signs of mumps: Mumps is best known for the puffy cheeks and swollen jaw that it causes. Other common signs of illness include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness and loss of appetite. Signs of illness typically appear 16-18 days after infection, but can range from 12-25 days after infection. Some people may not have signs of illness. If you think that you have the mumps, stay away from others. Do not show up at E.R. or your health care provider’s office. Instead, call your provider and ask what you should do next.

Mumps is a virus that spreads easily: It spreads through fluids from the mouth, nose, or throat. Mumps can spread from two days before signs of illness appear through five days after the swelling begins. An infected person can spread the virus by:

  • coughing, sneezing, or talking
  • sharing items with others, such as cups or eating utensils
  • touching objects or surfaces with unwashed hands that are then touched by others

Mumps outbreaks commonly occur in places where people have had prolonged, close contact with a person who has mumps. Activities that involve close contact can include attending the same class, playing on the same sports team, or living in the same household.

What else should I do to prevent mumps from spreading? In addition to being vaccinated and staying away from others when you have mumps, you can help prevent its spread:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. 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.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water.
  • Avoid sharing drinks or eating utensils, and smoking devices (e.g. cigarettes, joints and e-cigarettes)
  • Disinfecting frequently touched surfaces, such as toys, doorknobs, tables, counters.

To learn more about mumps visit the CDC website or call your Primary Care Provider.