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Mumps Outbreak in Oklahoma Continues

12/22/2016

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A growing outbreak of mumps continues to affect families in Oklahoma. As of mid-December, 342 cases of mumps had been reported to the Oklahoma State Department of Health, and 65 more cases are under investigation. Garfield County has been hardest hit with 292 cases -- 85 percent of the cases statewide. Mumps cases have also been reported in Canadian, Kay, Kingfisher, McClain, McCurtain, Osage, Tulsa and Woods counties.

What Is Mumps?

Most cases of the mumps are mild, but for some people, it is a dangerous disease. It can sometimes lead to deafness, meningitis or encephalitis. For pregnant women in their first trimester, mumps may cause miscarriage. Mumps is usually thought of as a childhood disease because it was more common among children and young adults before the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine originated. Children usually receive the MMR vaccine at their one-year checkup and then again between ages 4 and 6. However, mumps can affect anyone who has not been vaccinated against the virus. In Oklahoma, the virus is even spreading among people who have been vaccinated. During this outbreak, cases have been diagnosed between ages 6 months and 63 years. The median age of cases is 16.

What Are Symptoms of Mumps?

Here are the most common symptoms of mumps:
  • Swelling on one or both sides of the face
  • Tenderness of the salivary glands, which are in the cheek and jaw areas
  • Low fever
  • Headache
  • Achiness and muscle pain
Mumps can be spread through the air by coughing or sneezing and through direct contact with an infected person’s saliva or nose and throat fluids. An infected person can spread mumps even before symptoms show. Symptoms usually show up two to three weeks after infection. If you are concerned you may have the mumps, see your doctor right away for a proper diagnosis. There isn’t a specific treatment for mumps, but most patients recover in about two weeks.

How Can I Prevent Infection?

The most important way to stop the spread of mumps is to get the MMR vaccine. After someone has both doses of the mumps vaccine, the treatment is 88 percent effective, according to the Oklahoma Department of Health. If you know others have mumps, be sure to avoid the area if possible and do not share drinks. If you have the mumps, be sure to cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough. Stay home from work, school or daycare to avoid infecting others. infographic showing data for mumps cases in Oklahoma in 2016

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