`This story was last updated 6/2/17.
The most recent Mumps epidemic is not letting up.
In Los Angeles, over 40 people in and around Los Angeles County have come down with Mumps. Some have even been vaccinated against the virus. Health officials report the affected individuals include mostly gay men who might have contracted Mumps from crowded areas such as gyms and night clubs.
In Texas, 221 Mumps cases have been reported since the beginning of the year.
Per the CDC, since the start of 2017 approximately 2570 Mumps cases have been reported, involving 42 states and the District of Columbia. In Washington State, over 738 cases have been confirmed as of April 5th.
Last year, 5311 cases were reported in all 50 states, including the District of Columbia, with eight states reporting more than 100 cases this year. These are Arkansas, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma and Texas.
Mumps commonly affected individuals prior to the MMR vaccine implementation in the late 1960s. At the time close to 186,000 people were affected each year. Since vaccination, these numbers have drastically decreased, but outbreaks have sprung up sporadically.
What is “The Mumps”?
Mumps are caused by the virus, paramyxovirus, causing swelling of the parotid (salivary glands). Other symptoms include fever, malaise, headache, body aches as with many viral illnesses. The facial swelling can occur symmetrically but in 1/4 of the cases only one side may swell.
Its spread by droplet transmission, hence being exposed to someone’s sneeze, cough, saliva and symptoms may appear within a few days to a few weeks. The illness lasts on average 10-14 days but could last longer.
Complications of the mumps could include meningitis and encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), orchitis (inflammation of the testicle), pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) and others leading to infertility, deafness and in rare cases death.
Vaccination and avoiding those who are ill is paramount. The CDC had stated many newer cases of Mumps are occurring in individuals who have been vaccinated. Two doses are usually given of the vaccine when a child is between 12 and 15 months and then again between 4-6 years old. Some experts have suggested a possible third booster as the MMR vaccine is 88% effective. The MMR vaccinates against Measles, Mumps and Rubella. A newer vaccine, the MMVR also protects against Varicella (chicken pox).