As of Monday, Grant County had 15 of Wisconsin’s 38 confirmed mumps cases.
Though the Grant County Health Department did not disclose the source of the mumps outbreak, UW–Platteville was identified as having had five cases of mumps as of early November. A UW–Platteville email Nov. 23 reported 15 mumps cases.
Grant County Health Director Jeff Kindrai said people should check their immunization status and follow isolation advice if ill to prevent mumps from spreading. Kindrai also recommended getting a flu shot, since influenza activity “is starting to increase, and influenza and mumps look very similar in the early stages.”
The Mumps–Measles–Rubella vaccine is recommended for children age 12 to 15 months and at 4 to 6 years old; the vaccine is 95 percent effective at providing immunity. People who have gotten mumps in the past are generally immune as well.
Anyone who thinks he or she has mumps should seek medical care and be sure to call his or her health care provider in advance so contact with others can be limited. Mumps can be spread through the air up to a week around the onset of symptoms by coughing, sneezing or talking. Symptoms show two to three weeks after exposure.
Mumps is a viral infection that can cause swelling of an infected person’s salivary glands. It begins with low-grade fever, headache, muscle pain and a general feeling of discomfort. Salivary glands cause the cheek and jaw to swell on one or both sides of the face within the first two days of the illness.
There is no specific treatment for mumps, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
Kindrai said complications are infrequent, but can include meningitis, inflammation of the covering of the brain and spinal cord; encephalitis, inflammation of the brain; reproductive health problems; deafness; and rarely death.
People with mumps should remain home and avoid exposing others, and remain home for five days after salivary gland swelling begins. They should also avoid contact with children younger than one year old, pregnant women who are suspectible to mumps, and people with weakened immune systems.