The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) reports that cases of mumps are beginning to appear in Louisiana. As of Wednesday, there have been 12 cases of mumps reported by the LDH Office of Public Health.

Public domain map courtesy of The General Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin
Public domain map courtesy of The General Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin

“There has been a large outbreak of mumps cases in Arkansas and we’re starting to see cases in Louisiana now,” said Dr. Frank Welch, medical director of the state Immunization Program, Louisiana Department of Health.

The first cluster of cases has been identified at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. The university is taking extra precautions to prevent the spread among students and faculty. The Louisiana Department of Health has shared health alerts and education to remind health care providers, schools and universities about the signs and symptoms of mumps.

“Our Louisiana culture is rich with festivals and celebrations including many scheduled for St. Patrick’s Day this weekend. Large gatherings create an environment where germs and contagious illnesses spread easily,” said Dr. Jimmy Guidry, State Health Officer, LDH. “This is a great time to remind everyone to take proper precautions to avoid getting sick.”

The Louisiana Department of Health offers these reminders to avoid the spread of infection:

  • Do not share drinks, utensils, or food.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Clean surfaces that are frequently touched (such as toys, doorknobs, tables, counters, etc.) with soap and water or with cleaning wipes regularly.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
  • If you have symptoms, stay at home for 5 days after symptoms begin; avoid school, work or large group settings.

Symptoms of mumps include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Tiredness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Swollen and tender salivary glands under the ears on one or both sides

Dr. Welch added that a person who has the mumps virus may not know they are ill because it can take several weeks after the infection until the symptoms occur.

“The infectious period is the time period during which an infected person can spread the disease to others. People are most infectious from one or two days before onset of symptoms until five days after they notice inflammation of their salivary glands,” Welch added. “It is for this reason that we advise these safe sharing precautions, especially at a time when people gather in large groups.”

Mumps virus/CDC
Mumps virus/CDC