An article released by CNNHealth on February 9th, 2017 states that 404 mumps cases were reported in Washington state since October 2016, with King County with the most number of cases (approximately 167 cases total). Twenty-five percent of the total mumps cases were found in the 14 to 18 age category, and no deaths have been reported; however, Dave Johnson, a representative from the Washington State Department of Health, reports that deaths could occur if the disease reaches more vulnerable populations including people over the age of 65. Dr. Manisha Patel, a representative from the CDC, reported that 2016 was a year of unusually high numbers of mumps cases with five states reporting more than three hundred cases each. Johnson states that the Washington public health system is taking initiative to educate people regarding mumps prevention, with the best line of prevention being the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine (normally administered to children in two doses). Before the vaccine was available, the United States had approximately 186,000 mumps cases each year; however, the vaccine has decreased those numbers by 99%.
Initial symptoms of mumps include influenza-like illnesses including fever, myalgia, fatigue, and headaches. More severe complications in children include swelling of the salivary glands and the jaw. Severe complications in adults include encephalitis, hearing loss, and abnormalities of the ovaries, breast, and testes. The routes of transmission for mumps is respiratory transmission as well as direct contact of respiratory droplets. Mumps has an incubation period of 12 to 25 days.
The Washington Public Health system has been reviewing the Arkansas outbreak to develop preventative measures. The second largest mumps outbreak within the past 25 years occurred in Arkansas last fall with more than 2,766 cases since August of 2016. The first largest outbreak was in a boarding school in New York. Dr. Dirk Haselow, an Arkansas state epidemiologist, states that the main cause of this outbreak was due to lax vaccine regulations that allowed parents to avoid vaccinating their children due to medical and/or religious reasons.
This outbreak once again demonstrated the significant of the MMR/MMRV vaccine in drastically decreasing the number of mumps cases in the United States.
Check out the article here: http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/08/health/mumps-washington-outbreak/index.html
~Michelle Bach (Humans and Viruses 2016-2017)