The number of mumps cases in central Indiana continue to rise as state health officials put the count at 78. The Indiana State Department of Health has confirmed outbreaks of mumps at Indiana University in Bloomington (22) Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) (5), Purdue University (8) in West Lafayette, and Butler University in Indianapolis (24).
An additional 19 cases unrelated to any university outbreaks have been identified across central Indiana since February.
Earlier this month, health officials reminded residents to check their vaccination records and to be aware of the symptoms of mumps.
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. Those can include encephalitis, meningitis, deafness and inflammation of the testicles, ovaries or breasts. Rarely, inflammation of the testicles can lead to decreased fertility or sterility in males.
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.
Children are routinely vaccinated for mumps at 12 through 15 months of age, and again at 4 through 6 years of age, before going to kindergarten. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that anyone born in 1957 or later who does not have evidence of immunity against mumps should have two doses of MMR vaccine, separated by at least 28 days. People born before 1957 do not need to be vaccinated, unless they work in a healthcare facility.
Individuals who cannot verify two doses of the MMR vaccine should contact their health care provider.
If you are vaccinated against mumps, your risk of infection is low. However, it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of mumps because even fully vaccinated individuals can contract the disease. The majority of the mumps cases reported thus far in the Indiana outbreaks involve fully vaccinated individuals.
Anyone who is experiencing symptoms of mumps should contact a health care provider.
Nationally, the CDC reports 467 mumps cases through Apr. 1.