Mumps in North Carolina

Published 7:02 pm Wednesday, May 10, 2017

There were seven cases of mumps found in North Carolina during the month of April. It is very important that every person who can be vaccinated is up to date on his or her routine shots.

The Beaufort County Public Health Department takes the threat of communicable diseases very seriously and is monitoring ongoing risks in the community.

The cases were identified in Orange, Wake and Watauga counties. Though those counties are in the central area of the state, Beaufort County residents often travel or come into contact with people who have traveled to those areas.

Mumps is best known for puffy cheeks and swollen jaw. This is because of swollen salivary glands. Some other common symptoms of mumps are fever, headache, muscle ache, tiredness and loss of appetite.

Symptoms usually show two to three weeks after infection. Most people with mumps recover in a few weeks, but there are possible complications, such as testicular inflammation in men, inflammation of the ovaries in women, hearing loss/deafness and infections in other parts of the body.

Mumps is a virus spread by coughing, sneezing, talking or sharing of items like drinking cups and eating utensils, and touching objects or surfaces with unwashed hands that are then touched by others.

Mumps can spread before the salivary glands begin to swell and up to five days after the swelling begins.

If a person is confirmed or suspected to have mumps, he should stay home from work or school and limit close contact with others for five days after the salivary glands swell, or until mumps is ruled out.

To help stop the spread, the health department will talk with all confirmed cases in Beaufort County.

Though it is possible for someone who has been vaccinated to get mumps, the risk is much higher for people who have not been vaccinated. The risk of complications from mumps is also lower in people who are vaccinated than those who are not.

The best way to prevent mumps is to be vaccinated. Good hygiene can reduce the risk of spreading illness. Make sure to wash hands frequently with soap and warm water, cover the mouth when coughing to reduce the spread of diseases, and do not share cups or food utensils with others.

The Beaufort County Public Health Department offers the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, which protects against mumps. Feel free to make an appointment to get the vaccine or check on vaccination status. Contact the department at 252-946-1902.