The mumps outbreak that has affected three counties in northwest Arkansas continues to grow. As of Friday, The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) puts the case count at 376 under investigation.
Benton, Washington, and Madison, all in the northwestern corner of the state, remain the only counties involved.
ADH reports the outbreak has affected 11 workplaces and 3 school districts and 35 schools in the above counties.
Two-thirds of the cases are reported in schoolaged children (242), prompting health officials to target the outbreak response to minimizing transmission within the impacted schools. ADH is requiring students who have a Mumps, Measles, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine exemption to be excluded from school for 26 days from the date of exposure or for the duration of the outbreak, whichever is longer.
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. Two doses of MMR vaccine is 88 percent effective in preventing mumps. It is a live virus vaccine and is not recommended for pregnant women or patients with a weakened immune system. Adults born before 1957 are generally considered to be immune to mumps and do not need to receive the MMR vaccine.
Nationally, the CDC has reported 1897 mumps cases from 44 states through Sep. 10.
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