December 7th, 2016
With two of the nation’s mumps outbreaks only a county away, JPS School Based Health Centers have been advised to be watchful. Nearly 3,000 cases have been reported nationally, with six states reporting more than 100 cases, including neighboring Oklahoma and Arkansas.
The Texas Department of State Health Services has alerted area providers to an outbreak among students in Johnson County schools and a smaller outbreak among adults in Dallas County — not far away when the culprit is a virus that spreads just like the common cold.
The first signs and symptoms of mumps are typically a low-grade fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness and loss of appetite. Those are followed by the tell-tale sign — swollen salivary glands, which are painful and create the appearance of puffy cheeks and a swollen jaw on one or both sides of the face. Severe side-effects, which are rare, include swelling of the brain or testicles.
As of November 5, the CDC had reports of 2,879 cases in 45 states, the largest number since 2006. Authorities said the Johnson County outbreak may be tied to recent travel to Arkansas, one of the states hardest hit with more than 1,800 possible cases under investigation.
Once a common disease of childhood, mumps dropped dramatically after the start of widespread immunization in 1957. People born before 1957 are considered immune.
Current vaccination guidelines call for two doses of MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine, the first between ages 12-15 months, the second between 4-6 years. Children can also receive the MMRV vaccine, which includes varicella (chicken pox.) Adults born in or after 1957 should be vaccinated, too, if they were not vaccinated in childhood.
Current theories for the rise in mumps cases include the vaccine’s effectiveness. People who have had two doses can expect to achieve immunity 88 percent of the time.
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