Health Department Warns Of Emerging Mumps Outbreak In King County

Public Health – Seattle & King County has identified three confirmed cases of mumps in King County, all in children aged 8-13 in Auburn. Eleven additional cases from multiple King County cities are currently under investigation. The three confirmed cases are within the same family and are

“To reduce the risk of becoming ill, everyone should be sure they are fully vaccinated against mumps with the MMR vaccine,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for King County. “If you or your child develops symptoms of mumps, please see a health care provider, even if you have been vaccinated.”

Mumps is an illness caused by a virus that can cause fever, headache, and swelling of the cheeks and jaw. Most people recover from mumps in a few weeks. In rare cases, mumps can lead to more serious complications that may require hospitalization, including inflammation of the brain and spinal cord and deafness. Up to 30% of people with mumps infection will have no symptoms.

A person with mumps can spread the virus by coughing, sneezing, or spraying saliva while talking. It can also be spread by sharing cups or eating utensils, and by touching objects or surfaces with unwashed hands that are then touched by others.

Who is at higher risk of getting mumps*?

  • Infants who are too young to receive MMR vaccine (under 1 year of age).
  • Children over 1 year of age who are not fully vaccinated: Children should get two doses of MMR vaccine, starting with the first dose at 12-15 months of age, and the second dose at 4-6 years of age. Teens and adults also should also be up to date on their MMR vaccination.
  • Adults born in or after 1957 who have not been vaccinated or have not previously had mumps disease.
  • If you are unsure whether you or your child have been vaccinated, please contact your health care provider.

* Note: Persons born before 1957 probably had mumps as children and are usually considered immune.

How to prevent mumps

  • Make sure you and your children are up to date on MMR vaccine.
  • Stay away from anyone who has mumps.
  • Wash your handsoften with soap and water.
  • Avoid sharing drinks or utensils used for eating.
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys, doorknobs, tables, counters.

 What to do if you have symptoms

  • If you or your child has symptoms of mumps (fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, loss of appetite, and swollen cheeks or jaw), call your healthcare provider.
  • Stay home and away from other people and from public settings until you or your child has been evaluated by a healthcare provider.