North Carolinians are being encouraged by the North Carolina Division of Public Health to be up to date on their vaccines after there were seven mumps cases identified in April. These cases have been identified in Orange, Wake, and Watauga Counties with the affected individuals being college and elementary school students.
Mumps is a viral illness with symptoms of swelling of the salivary glands below the ears and above the jaw, called parotitis. It is spread by nose, mouth, or throat droplets from an infected individual. Males can also show symptoms of inflammation of the testicles, called orchitis. It is best for infected people to stay home from work or school, and to limit their contact with other individuals.
The most effective way to prevent mumps is to get vaccinated,” said Dr. Zack Moore, North Carolina State Epidemiologist. “Anyone who thinks they might have mumps should contact their physician and have appropriate laboratory testing.” Individuals who are unsure of their mumps vaccination status should speak to their physician to determine if they need a vaccine.
While it is still possible for vaccinated people to get mumps, their risks of being infected are greatly reduced. In addition, the risk for complications from mumps is also lower in vaccinated individuals compared to those who are not vaccinated.
People are suggested to practice good hygiene to reduce the risk of spreading illness by washing hands frequently with soap and warm water, covering mouth when coughing, and not sharing cups or food utensils with others.