U.S. Army Public Health officials from Fort Campbell are investigating possible mumps cases among a Fort Campbell family and are working to notify personnel who may have been exposed, officials said April 24.
“Blanchfield Army Community Hospital sent lab results to the Tennessee Department of Health to determine if the case is mumps positive and have started notifying people who may have been exposed as a precautionary measure to limit possible exposure,” said Maj. Simone Edwards, Chief of Public Health Nursing at Blanchfield Army Community Hospital.
One of the family members attended an elementary school on post and medical officials are working with the school to notify parents of students who may have been exposed. Each family will receive a letter and a fact sheet with symptoms to look for and measures to take if the virus is suspected.
“Mumps is a self-limited and mild disease caused by a virus. It typically starts with a few days of fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite, followed by swollen salivary glands. Most people who get mumps recover completely in a few weeks, but it is highly contagious among the unvaccinated and in close-quarters so we feel it’s best to take preventive measures as we await the test results from the state health department,” said Edwards.
Edwards said results may take a few days. Army preventive medicine officials will work with state and local officials to track the health of individuals who may have been exposed if the lab results are positive.
Mumps can be prevented through the MMR vaccine, typically administered during well-baby check-ups at 12 to 15 months of age, and again during school-age immunizations at 4 to 6 years of age. People who have been vaccinated with MMR vaccine are considered to have immunities to the virus and less likely to contract the virus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, high vaccination coverage helps to limit the size, duration and spread of outbreaks.
Additionally people can help prevent the spread of the virus by practicing good routine infection control practices like washing hands regularly with soap and water, avoid sharing drinks and eating utensils, covering the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces, such as toys, doorknobs, tables and counters.
People who experience mumps-like symptoms including fever, puffy cheeks, swollen face or jaw that may be painful, muscle aches, loss of appetite and tiredness should contact their primary care manager for an appointment and limit their exposure to others. When visiting a medical facility, an individual exhibiting symptoms of mumps should wear a face mask that covers the nose and mouth and inform medical personnel so they may be separated from other patients to limit the spread of the virus.