Health experts are on high alert as the latest mumps reports point to an increase in the number of infected individuals. As of January 26th, a grand total of 290 people came down with the disease in five counties. Mumps is a highly contagious disease that spreads easily through infected saliva or close contact with another infected individual. However, the onset can be prevented by getting an MMR vaccine that protects the host against mumps, measles, and rubella.
In light of the recent reports, Washington State Department of Health officials urge the population to get the vaccine as soon as possible to prevent further spread. Health experts have issued guidelines to prevent the population from contracting the virus. Hence, they recommend individuals to avoid hugging, kissing, or any other kind of contact with an infected host.
Per latest findings, 160 cases have been reported in King County, Seattle included. Other confirmed cases of mumps include Spokane with 90 individuals exhibiting signs of the disease, 1 in Yakima County, 35 in Pierce County, and 3 in Snohomish County. Over the course of the past weeks, Iowa, New York, Arkansas, and Indiana also experienced an increase in the number of patients infected with mumps.
Even though the disease is now less common in the United States as it was in the past, the largest number of infected individuals in the last decade was recorded in 2016. Last year, a survey conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that 5,311 individuals fell victim to the virus across 46 states and the District of Columbia. For comparison purposes, only 229 cases have been reported in 2012, while an increase of 1,300 could be observed in 2015.
Health experts recommend patients, especially children, to get a double dose of the MMR vaccine, deemed 88 percent effective, for a better immunization. However, in light of the recent events, doctors have been left wondering if a third dose could prove to be more efficient in fighting off the disease. Infected individuals normally exhibit symptoms which include appetite loss, fever, fatigue, headache, and swollen salivary glands up to 18 days after coming in contact with the virus. However, the symptoms can also appear even 25 days after contracting the disease.