According to the statistics, 400 cases of mumps have been confirmed in Washington since October last year. The virus which causes this contagious disease is transmissible from one person to another through mucus and saliva.
King County is the most affected region with 179 confirmed cases. Next is Spokane County with 158 cases, Tacoma-Pierce County with 44 cases, Grant County with nine cases, Snohomish County with five cases, and Ferry County with three cases.
Also, Yakima and Thurston Counties reported one case each. According to Dave Johnson, the spokesperson for the health department in Washington, the outbreak has spread very fast and more people will most likely be affected.
Although the situation is concerning, the public health specialists are not surprised by the high number of cases. Dr. Manisha Patel, a CDC medical officer, says that the number of mumps cases usually fluctuates and it can reach up to a few thousand cases every year.
In 2016, a total of 5,311 cases were reported in the United States. Illinois, New York, Oklahoma, Iowa, and Arkansas had the highest rates of infection with 300 cases each. The experts believe that the outbreak will continue for at least a couple of months due to the method of transmission and the incubation period which ranges between seven to 21 days.
The Washington officials recorded 349 probable and confirmed mumps cases so far. The public health specialists have taken active measures to prevent the virus from spreading, but every county has its own strategies to contain the outbreak.
Johnson says that the health department in Washington provides clinical guidance to doctors and other healthcare providers. Also, the public health specialists continue to supply vaccine to all local health departments.
Besides the MMR vaccine, the best way to prevent the outbreak from spreading is raising awareness about the risks of measles. Furthermore, the officials urge residents to get a shot of the MMR vaccine as soon as possible.
Common symptoms include muscle aches, tiredness, appetite loss, headache, fever, and swollen salivary glands. These symptoms usually occur within twelve to fifteen days after the exposure, but it sometimes takes three weeks until they appear.
The patients need medical assistance for two to ten days after the symptoms have occurred. In the worst-case scenario, mumps leads to inflammation of testicles, breast tissue, ovaries, brain, and hearing loss.