January 31, 2019: Recently, a laboratory confirmed case of Mumps was identified in an elementary student in Washington County.The Southwest Utah Public Health Department is monitoring the case and will provide any essential updates on this page.

Mumps is best known for the puffy cheeks and swollen jaw that it causes. This is a result of swollen salivary glands. The most common symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Tiredness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Swollen and tender salivary glands under the ears on one or both sides (parotitis)

Symptoms typically appear 16-18 days after infection, but this period can range from 12-25 days after infection. Some people who get mumps have very mild or no symptoms, and often they do not know they have the disease. Most people with mumps recover completely in a few weeks. Some complications of mumps are known to occur more frequently among adults than children. Death from mumps is exceedingly rare.

Mumps is a viral illness caused by a paramyxovirus, a member of the Rubulavirus family. People with mumps are usually considered most infectious for several days before and after onset of parotitis.

The risk of spreading the virus increases the longer and the closer the contact a person has with someone who has mumps. When a person is ill with mumps, he or she should avoid contact with others from the time of diagnosis until at least 5 days after the onset of parotitis by staying home from work or school and staying in a separate room if possible.

Vaccination is the best way to prevent mumps. This vaccine is included in the combination measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) and measles-mumps-rubella-varicella (MMRV) vaccines. Everyone should be kept current with mumps vaccination.

Before there was a vaccine against mumps, the disease was common in the United States and caused complications such as permanent deafness in children and encephalitis (which could result in death, although very rarely). Before the U.S. mumps vaccination program started in 1967, about 186,000 cases were reported annually. Since the pre-vaccine era, there has been a 99% decrease in mumps cases in the United States.

From year to year, the number of mumps cases can range from roughly a couple hundred to a couple thousand. However, outbreaks still occasionally occur.  These outbreaks have shown that when people who are sick with mumps have close contact with a lot of other people (such as among students living in dormitories and students and families in close-knit communities), mumps can spread even among vaccinated people. However, outbreaks are much larger in areas where vaccine coverage rates are lower.

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