As of June 20, 2014, there have been 51 people ill with mumps in Wisconsin, compared to zero people in 2013. From 2009 – 2013, Wisconsin averaged five people ill with mumps per year. Of those ill, 59% are college students, but the ages of those sick ranges from 6 months to 53 years old. There have not been any people with mumps in Lincoln County so far this year.
Mumps is a virus infection that usually begins with a few days of fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite, and is followed by swelling of salivary glands along the cheeks and jaw, but can affect other areas of the body as well. Of children that get infected, 1 in 10 will get meningitis (swelling of the tissue surrounding the brain and spinal cord). Men and boys that become infected can have painful swelling of the testicles which may lead to the inability to have children in rare cases. Other problems caused by mumps include deafness (loss of hearing), encephalitis (swelling of the brain itself), and even death with severe cases. “We forget how bad these diseases can be sometimes,” states Kristi Krombholz, Public Health Nurse for Lincoln County Health Department, “a 10% risk of a child getting meningitis from mumps is too high to ignore.”
Mumps is spread through the air by coughing, sneezing, or talking as well as sharing eating or drinking utensils and coming into contact with the spit or mucus of someone with mumps. Those exposed become ill 2-3 weeks after coming into contact with the virus. Once someone has the virus in their body, they can give it to others 3 days before they feel sick and up to nine days after symptoms start.
There is no treatment for mumps at this time, but there is a vaccine to prevent the disease. The MMR vaccine is a two dose vaccine that covers measles, mumps, and rubella. It can be given beginning at 12-15 months of age and is recommended for everyone born after 1957. Those born before 1957 are considered to be protected and do not need the vaccine. Due to the recent outbreak of mumps in Wisconsin, as well as an increase in measles in Wisconsin, the Lincoln County Health Department is able to offer the MMR vaccine at a $5 cost to all Lincoln County residents, regardless of insurance status. Please call ahead to schedule your appointment.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, call your provider to have a test for mumps. For additional information on mumps, the MMR vaccine, or to schedule an appointment to receive the MMR vaccine, please call the Lincoln County Health Department at 715-536-0307 and ask to speak with Kristi Krombholz or Mindy Schwarz. To find more information about vaccine preventable diseases, visit http://lincolncountyhealthdepartment.com/; you can also find the Lincoln County Health Department on Facebook.