In a follow-up on the mumps outbreak in King County, Washington, the number of confirmed and probable cases have doubled since we last reported less than a week ago. According to Public Health – Seattle & King County on Wednesday, forty-four King County residents have been diagnosed with mumps (7 confirmed, 37 probable).
Over 60% are in children age 17 and younger and 59% are up-to-date on their MMR vaccination. Thirty-nine are in Auburn, three are in Kent, one is in Pacific, and one is in Federal Way.
Mumps is a highly contagious respiratory disease that is spread through indirect or direct contact with an infected person’s nose or throat droplets, such as when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It is best known for the puffy cheeks and swollen jaw that it causes because of inflammation of the salivary glands under the ears on one or both sides. Other common symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, fatigue and loss of appetite. Some people who get mumps have very mild or no symptoms, and often they do not know they have the disease.
Most people with mumps recover completely in a few weeks. However, mumps can occasionally cause severe complications, especially in adults. Treatment includes rest, fluids, and over-the-counter medicine to reduce fever and discomfort. Since mumps is caused by a virus, antibiotics are not used as a treatment.
People with mumps can spread the infection for up to two days before, and five days after, symptoms develop, so those infected can spread the disease before they feel sick. Symptoms typically appear 16 to 18 days after infection, but this period can range from 12 to 25 days after infection.
Nationally, the CDC has received reports of more than 4,200 mumps cases through Dec. 3, the most cases seen in a decade.