Four adult mumps cases in Garfield County
Garfield County Public Health is investigating four reported mumps cases among residents. The cases all involve adults and stem from the same initial exposure.
Health officials are seeing a large increase in mumps cases reported nationwide, with outbreaks in multiple states, including Colorado. While the four current cases are the first reported in 2017 for Garfield County, there have been 63 cases reported in Colorado so far this year. That far exceeds the 17 cases reported in 2016. States in the Midwest have experienced the highest numbers of cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Because of the high numbers of mumps cases across the country, it is especially important to make sure your children are vaccinated,” said Yvonne Long, Garfield County public health director. “Both adults and children should make sure they are up to date on their mumps vaccinations.”
The mumps vaccine is safe and highly effective but does not prevent the virus once you have been exposed. Two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine are recommended for children; the first dose at 12-15 months of age, and the second dose at 4-6 years of age. Immunity from the mumps vaccine can decrease over time, so some people who have been vaccinated get mumps.
The vaccine is not recommended for pregnant women. Adults born before 1957 are generally considered to be immune to mumps and do not need to be vaccinated, but other adults should make sure they have been vaccinated.
Mumps is a viral infection that causes painful swelling in the glands of the cheek and jaw. Other symptoms may include low-grade fever, fatigue, loss of appetite and headache, but about a third of people who have the virus don’t exhibit symptoms.
The virus is spread through direct contact with respiratory droplets or saliva of an infected person. Serious complications from mumps are rare but include meningitis and other problems.
Symptoms of mumps usually appear from 16 to 18 days after exposure. A person with mumps can spread the disease from two days before to five days after gland swelling begins, so people with mumps should stay at home until at least five days after the swelling starts.
People who think they may have mumps should contact their health-care providers.
In any situation, including when there is a mumps outbreak, washing hands often with soap and water, and having good health practices, are the most important steps to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others.
For more information about mumps, please visit colorado.gov/cdphe/mumps, or call Garfield County Public Health at 970-945-6614 or 970-625-5200.