County Health Department issues advisory after mumps outbreak
By J. Chambless
County Health Department (CCHD) is issuing a public health
announcement regarding a mumps outbreak linked to attendees of a
social dance event – Baile Mejicano, or Mexican Dance – that took
place at the Chase Center on the Riverfront in Wilmington, Del., on
Feb. 10. CCHD is now seeing the illness spread within Chester County.
Chester County’s Health Department director Jeanne Casner said, “Anyone exposed to mumps should contact their healthcare provider to determine whether they have contracted the illness and to assess if they and their family or close contacts need to receive vaccination against mumps.”
Mumps is an acute viral infection spread through saliva or mucus from the nose, mouth and throat of an infected person. It is spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It can also be spread by kissing, sharing items such as cups or eating utensils, or touching objects or surfaces with unwashed hands that are then touched by others.
Mumps usually causes swelling of the glands under the ears or jaw, and other symptoms include fever, headache, and muscle aches. Symptoms usually appear 16 to 18 days after infection, but this period can range from 12 to 25 days after infection. It is possible that some people who have contracted mumps may not show any symptoms. The mumps virus can affect any person of any age.
The best way to prevent mumps is to get the mumps vaccine. Persons exposed to mumps should check their immunization status, monitor for symptoms, and call their healthcare provider if they develop symptoms of mumps. Persons known or suspected to have mumps should stay away from child care, school or work until five days after the onset of swollen salivary glands, as there is no specific treatment for mumps.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends children get two doses of the mumps/measles/rubella (MMR) vaccine, starting with the first dose at 12 to 15 months of age, and the second dose at four to six years of age. Teens and adults who did not get the recommended MMR vaccines should be vaccinated so they are up to date. During outbreaks, CDC also recommends that those at highest risk due to exposure to people with mumps receive a third dose of MMR.
The MMR vaccine is available at doctor’s offices, health care centers and immunization providers. The Chester County Health Department Clinic can offer vaccine to those who meet eligibility requirements at no charge. Call 610-344-6252 for more information.