The mumps outbreak in northwest Arkansas has topped 500 cases in Benton, Washington, and Madison counties. The case tally is at 520 as of Thursday, according to Dirk Haselow, MD, PhD, State Epidemiologist and Outbreak Response Medical Director for the Arkansas Department of Health.


In a emailed statement from Dr Haselow to Outbreak News Todayof the 520 cases reported, 244 have been laboratory confirmed.

Concerning vaccination status of the infected, Haselow said about 87 percent of cases in children 5-17 are up-to-date on their vaccination, while only 35 percent are up-to-date in adults 18 and older.

Two-thirds of the cases have been reported in children ages 5-17.

To date, 37 schools in four different school districts, 17 businesses or work places and 30 churches are involved.

Mumps is spread by droplets of saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose, or throat of an infected person, usually when the person coughs, sneezes or talks. Items used by an infected person, such as cups or soft drink cans, can also be contaminated with the virus, which may spread to others if those items are shared.

Symptoms typically appear 16-18 days after infection, but this period can range from 12-25 days after infection. It is usually a mild disease, but can occasionally cause serious complications.

The most common complication is inflammation of the testicles (orchitis) in males who have reached puberty; rarely does this lead to fertility problems.

Other rare complications include inflammation of the brain and/or tissue covering the brain and spinal cord(encephalitis/meningitis), inflammation of the ovaries (oophoritis) and/or breasts (mastitis) infemales who have reached puberty and deafness. Anyone who is not immune from either previous mumps infection or from vaccination can get mumps.