The Daily Mail recently released an article on October 10th, 2016 stating a significant mumps outbreak in Arkansas of approximately 427 cases. 30 schools have reported mumps cases in Arkansas. Mumps is a viral infection of the salivary gland that is commonly associated with puffy cheeks and swollen jaw. Less severe symptoms of Mumps include fever, headache, chills, fatigue, loss of appetite, and pain in the stomach, pelvis, testicles, and neck. One particular symptom that is found in pre-pubescent teens is orchitis, which is swelling of the testicles. More severe symptoms include encephalitis, meningitis, acute pancreatitis, and swelling of the ovaries. People who are experiencing symptoms of encephalitis (which are very similar to flu-like symptoms) and live in areas that have been marked by Mumps cases are asked to call 911 immediately upon notice.
However, mumps cases in the past have declined due to the availability of the MMR vaccine. This drastic increase has lead to an epidemiological investigation to determine the cause of incredibly fast rate of transmission. Students who have not received the MMR vaccine and live near areas with mumps cases were asked to remain at home for the next 26 days. This article makes a strong case regarding the importance of vaccinations as a significant preventative measure.
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~Michelle Bach (Humans & Viruses 2016-2017)