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14 cases investigated in ’emerging mumps’ outbreak in King County


Health officials reported what they call an emerging mumps outbreak in King County.

Public Health – Seattle & King County identified three confirmed cases of mumps in King County, all in children aged 8-13 in Auburn. These cases are within the same family, and all children are recovering.

According to a news release on Tuesday, 11 additional cases from multiple King County cities are currently under investigation.

Here’s a question and answer section provided by the health department.

What is mumps?

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.

How is mumps spread?

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.

How to prevent mumps

  • Make sure you and your children are up to date on MMR vaccine.Visit the Mumps Vaccination page to see recommendations for different groups.
  • Stay away from anyone who has mumps.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water.
  • Avoid sharing drinks or eating utensils.
  • 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 persons and from public settings until you or your child has been evaluated by a healthcare provider.

What Public Health is doing

Investigation of infectious diseases is one of the essential services provided by Public Health – Seattle & King County. We will continue to identify and investigate any additional cases of mumps. We are also alerting healthcare providers and working with schools and communities in King County to provide education about preventing mumps. Increased cases of mumps have been identified nationwide, so we are sharing information and coordinating with the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other health departments in other states.

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