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Mumps Outbreak In Washington State

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The state of Washington reported on Wednesday that there have been 278 confirmed and probable cases of mumps across five of its counties, namely: King, Pierce, Snohomish, Spokane and Yakima. Mumps, a contagious disease, is caused by a virus and is spread through contact with infected saliva and mucus.

State officials are urging people to get vaccinated in order to stop the spread, and to take extra safety measures. Dave Johnson, a spokesperson for the Washington State Department of Health, said, “The best protection against mumps is the MMR vaccine.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that kids receive two doses of the MMR vaccine, which protects them against measles, mumps and rubella. The CDC is working closely with the state department of help, and while not currently on-site, is providing assistance as needed, CNN reports.

Washington health authorities say, “If you suspect someone of having mumps, you should avoid kissing, hugging and other close contact. Anyone feeling sick should contact their health care providers, local health departments or the Family Health Hotline at 1-800-322-2588.”

Johnson added,

We are telling folks if you’re sick or you think you have mumps, stay home.

This is especially true for children and for people who work in schools, universities and colleges.

The CDC has received reports of 228 cases of mumps in January 2017 alone. Dr. Manisha Patel, a medical officer at the CDC, said, “Almost half of them are being reported from Arkansas.” Arkansas had a mumps outbreak towards the end of 2016 that continued into the 2017.

Initial symptoms of mumps include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness and loss of appetite. These are then followed by swelling salivary glands, causing puffy cheeks and a swollen jaw. The incubation period is from 12 to 25 days, but symptoms last from two to more than 10 days.

Mumps can cause complications in adults, including deafness, and inflammation of the brain, ovaries, breast tissue or testicles. On rare occasions, the disease can cause encephalitis, which can result in death, the CDC warned.

Johnson said, “Our goal is simple: stopping the outbreak by helping local health care providers. Make sure you and your family members receive health care.”

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