Through Aug. 13, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported 1,786 mumps cases, the most reported in the US since 2010.
Two states are being hit particularly hard by the contagious viral disease of recent–Arkansas and New York.
In Arkansas, the outbreak in the northwest part of the state, which has been called the largest cluster of mumps cases that Arkansas has experienced since 2010, is now at 196 cases as of Friday.
According to state health officials, this outbreak affects schools in the Huntsville, Rogers, and Springdale School Districts.
In New York State, an outbreak of mumps in the Long Beach area of Long Island has grown to 45 cases since June.
In both cases, many or a majority of cases were fully vaccinated with two doses of measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine.
In addition to the outbreak in Long Beach, two upstate universities have recently reported mumps cases- SUNY Oswego and SUNY Plattsburgh. The case at SUNY Oswego is believed to be associated with the Long Beach outbreak.
“We are warning colleges and universities in New York State and beyond that the outbreak of mumps in Long Beach could lead to other cases,” said New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. “SUNY Oswego and SUNY Plattsburgh both have high percentages of vaccinated students, and we appreciate their cooperation in doing everything they can to prevent the spread of mumps on their campuses. We urge students, faculty and staff members with symptoms that could indicate mumps to seek medical care.”
Mumps is becoming increasingly more common on college campuses in the United States. The disease has been reported on multiple college campuses in 2016 including the State University of New York at Buffalo, Indiana University, University of Kentucky, University of San Diego, University of Southern Maine, Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire and Harvard University, among others.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Mumps is a viral illness that is transmitted by direct contact with respiratory droplets or saliva from an infected person. It is best known for painful, swollen salivary glands that show up as puffy cheeks and swollen jaw. Boys may also have painful, swollen testicles. Other symptoms include fever, headache, muscles aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite. There is no treatment, and symptoms usually resolve themselves within a few weeks. Mumps is usually a mild disease in children, but adults may have more serious disease with complications.
The MMR vaccine is safe and effective. According to the CDC, two doses of mumps vaccine are 88% (range 66% to 95%) effective at preventing the disease; one dose is 78% range (49% to 91%) effective.
In addition to vaccination, other preventive measures that can be taken to prevent the disease include: Do not share food, drinks, utensils or other personal items that may contain saliva; wash your hands frequently with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand rub if soap and water are not available; cover your nose and mouth with a tissue if you sneeze or cough, and discard the tissue after you use it. If a tissue is not available, sneeze or cough into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands; clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that may be contaminated with germs and people with the mumps should stay home, and away from public places for five days after the onset of symptoms and limit contact with others in their household.