Spokane Regional Health District announced Wednesday two cases of mumps in Spokane County.
Both individuals are between the ages of 10 and 20 years old and both were fully immunized against the mumps.
A measles-mumps-rubella vaccine prevents most, but not all, cases of mumps. Even in a highly vaccinated population it is possible that some people will get the illness. Although the risk of acquiring mumps to Spokane’s general population is low, health officials urge individuals to get vaccinated.
"Although we hope to contain this to just two cases, mumps outbreaks are something we are seeing across the United States," said Dr. Sam Artzis, SRHD interim health officer. “We urge individuals to make sure that they, and their loved ones, are up to date on the MMR vaccine."
Close contacts of the two new cases will be monitored for symptoms. To date, there are no other known or suspected cases of mumps in Spokane County.
It is early in the investigation and not clear yet if the cases are linked to western Washington’s ongoing mumps outbreak. Health officials were able to rule out a connection to Spokane County’s previous mumps outbreak, which was declared over on Dec. 5, 2016.
The previous outbreak affected four people associated with Whitworth University.
In children, mumps is usually a mild disease. Adults may have more serious disease and more complications.
Mumps is spread through saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose, or throat. An infected person can spread the virus by:
- Coughing, sneezing, or talking.
- Sharing items, such as cups or eating utensils, with others.
- Touching objects or surfaces with unwashed hands that are then touched by others.
The infectious period of mumps is three days before, to five days after, the onset of the most common symptom of mumps, which is swelling/pain of the cheeks and jaw. Other common symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite.
Officials from the health district advise individuals who experience mumps symptoms to seek medical care from their healthcare provider.
Individuals who are concerned about getting the mumps can reduce their risk of becoming ill by:
- Getting vaccinated against the mumps.
- People who have received two doses of the MMR vaccine are about nine times less likely to get mumps than unvaccinated people who have the same exposure to the mumps virus.
- If a vaccinated person does get mumps, they will likely have less severe illness than an unvaccinated person.
- Most children and young adults have received at least one dose of the MMR vaccine. Two doses of MMR vaccine are more effective than one dose.
- Washing hands frequently.
- Avoiding sharing glasses, eating utensils, water bottles, cigarettes, and makeup.
Prior to 2016, Spokane County’s last confirmed mumps case was in 2009. Including Spokane’s cases, since Jan. 1, 2016, state health officials have confirmed more than 70 cases of mumps in Washington state. In 2015, health officials confirmed seven cases of mumps statewide.
SRHD and Washington State Department of Health (DOH) worked collaboratively to facilitate diagnoses and laboratory testing. SRHD continues to supply healthcare providers with screening and testing recommendations.
To learn more about the mumps, see the health district’s FAQ on its site at srhd.org.
For information about Washington state’s cases, visit DOH’s site here at doh.wa.gov.