An Alaskan woman who traveled to Japan has been confirmed with the viral disease, mumps, according to the Alaska Section of Epidemiology in a bulletin recently.

Mumps virus/CDC
Mumps virus/CDC

In mid-July, the patient, a 50-year-old woman presented with left side parotitis, headache, jaw pain and trismus. Prior to this she had suffered from neck and back pain for several days.

During June 6–26, the patient was escorting a group of school-aged children to Japan. She stayed with a host family who reported that their daughter received a mumps diagnosis on June 21. The woman thought she vaccinated as a child; however, shot records were unavailable.

Buccal swab and serum samples were collected for mumps testing. Mumps polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was positive and mumps immunoglobulin G (IgG) was negative.

On July 18, the patient reported that symptoms were abating. All of the students traveling with this patient, as well as her household members, were up to date on their vaccinations and no evidence of secondary spread was identified.

Mumps is no longer very common in the United States. Each year, on average, a few hundred people in the U.S. are reported to have the disease. Before the U.S. mumps vaccination program started in 1967, about 186,000 cases were reported each year. Since the pre-vaccine era, there has been a more than 99% decrease in mumps cases in the United States.

From January 1 to August 15, 2014, 965 people in the United States have been reported to have mumps. Outbreaks in at least four U.S. universities have contributed to these cases. In 2013, 438 people from 39 states in the U.S. were reported to have mumps. The last reported outbreak in Alaska was in 1995.