Southern Nevada Health District Reports Five Cases of Mumps

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

11 December, 2007

LAS VEGAS – The Southern Nevada Health District Office of Epidemiology has identified five cases of mumps in Clark County over the past several weeks. The number of cases indicates that the mumps virus is circulating locally and there are reported outbreaks in other parts of the country.

The health district advises anyone who appears to have symptoms of mumps to visit a health care professional for an accurate diagnosis and recommends contacting the physician’s office for special instructions, if any, to prevent other patients or staff from infection. Anyone with the illness should not attend school, childcare, work or other public gatherings for at least nine days after the onset of swelling of the glands on the jaw and/or near the ears.

For more information, contact the Office of Epidemiology, (702) 759-1300 or visit www.SouthernNevadaHealthDistrict.org.

Mumps is a viral illness that is found globally. People exposed to the mumps virus might not become ill or they might have one or more of a variety of symptoms. Swelling of one or more of the glands on the side of the face or close to the jaw commonly occurs. Other symptoms might include:

  • Muscle pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Low-grade fever

The symptoms usually appear within 14 to 18 days after contact with the virus, but can range between 12 and 25 days. The virus is spread by breathing it in after an infected individual coughs or sneezes or if someone comes into direct contact with the saliva of an infected person. An infected person is contagious starting three days before symptoms begin until up to nine days afterwards. Anyone who is infected with the virus but not having symptoms can also spread it.

“The current increase in mumps cases is an opportunity for us to remind everyone that the disease has not been eradicated. Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and your children from infection,” said Dr. Lawrence Sands, the health district’s chief health officer. “Since Clark County’s vaccination rate for children under age two is below the national average, we could have many more children who are susceptible.”

The MMR vaccine (measles, mumps, rubella) is recommended for anyone over one year of age. The health district advises parents to ensure that their children are up to date on their mumps immunizations. The first dose should be given at 12-15 months and a second dose between 4 and 6 years of age. The MMR vaccine is required for all Clark County school children. Two doses of the vaccine are required to be protected. The MMR vaccine is about 95 percent effective. In addition, vaccine will not prevent the illness if someone has already been exposed to mumps.

Because mumps is a viral infection, antibiotics are not prescribed for the illness and there is no specific treatment available for the disease. Severe complications from mumps are rare, but can include meningitis, swelling of the testicles or ovaries, inflammation of the pancreas, and deafness.

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