While the pun in the title is definitely intended, the mumps virus is no joking matter. In recent months, we’ve seen a spike in the number of reported mumps cases—not just in Iowa, but across the United States. Iowa’s number of reported cases has jumped up to 110 times the average, and has particularly increased in counties with a college presence.
As of March 28, 2016, 550 cases of mumps were reported, which is thought to be underreported. Iowa typically sees between five to 15 cases of mumps per year. Mumps is an infection caused by the mumps virus. That’s about as clear as mud. Breaking it down into symptoms exhibited may make it easier to understand.
Symptoms common to those afflicted by mumps include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, loss of appetite, and swollen salivary glands under the jaw, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health. Mumps is most prevalent among infants, children, and young adults, but has become a rare disease in the United States due to high vaccination rates for the infection.
Mumps is spread through saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose, or throat from an infected person. This could be when a person sneezes, coughs, or even talks. An infected person who touches surfaces without washing his or her hands can also perpetuate the illness.
Although some individuals elect to forego vaccinations, many in the United States follow vaccination guidelines administered from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/acip-recs/index.html).
So, what is the moral of this sickly story? Make sure your MMR vaccine is up-to-date and that if you get diagnosed with the infection you take appropriate measures to keep your distance from others and to wash your hands…OFTEN!
Please contact your primary care provider to find out if your MMR immunizations are current.
Sources: http://idph.iowa.gov/cade/disease-information/mumps http://www.radioiowa.com/2016/03/28/reported-mumps-cases-are-up-this-year/