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Mumps Outbreak in Pierce County

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Community Health Nursing
Puyallup Tribal Health Authority

The Public Health Department has confirmed numerous cases of mumps in Pierce and King County.

What Is Mumps?

Mumps is a highly contagious viral illness. An infected person can spread it through face-to-face contact by coughing, sneezing, or even spraying saliva while talking. It can also spread by shared cups and eating utensils.

What Are the Symptoms?

  • Puffy cheeks and swollen jaw
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle Aches
  • Tiredness
  • Loss of Appetite

Mumps can be serious, but most people with mumps usually recover completely in a few weeks.

How Can You Prevent Mumps?

Immunization is the most effective way to prevent mumps.  It is effective in approximately 88% of the population.  Everyone should make sure they are up to date on their measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine (MMR). Other ways to protect yourself:

  • Avoid contact with anyone infected with mumps.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can be effective if soap and water isn’t available.
  • Cover your cough by coughing into your bent elbow sleeve.
  • Don’t share cups and eating utensils.

Who Is More Likely to Get Mumps?

  • Babies less than one year old.
  • Children older than one who have not received at least one dose of the MMR.
  • Adults born in or after 1957 who have not been vaccinated or have not had mumps before.

Symptoms of mumps generally develop within 3 weeks of infection-this is known as the incubation period. Most people experience symptoms of the disease, however, 15-20 percent of cases show no clinical evidence of being infected-meaning it is possible to be infected without even knowing.  Symptoms of mumps typically last last seven to ten days, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
If you suspect your child may have mumps please contact your provider.  You may also call the clinic at (253) 593-0232 and request to speak to a nurse if you would like to confirm that you or your child’s vaccinations are up to date.

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