Health department investigating mumps cases at UA

CDC now recommends that children receive two doses of the MMR vaccine, with the first dose at 12-15 months of age and the second at 4-6 years.

Isolation is of critical importance in preventing the spread of mumps.

The Centers for Disease Control has reported mumps cases are at a 10-year nationwide high with cases in 46 states in the last year. Treatment focuses on alleviating symptoms; recommendations include bed rest, a soft diet and a pain reliever for body aches.

The agency said a "major factor" that can contribute to a mumps outbreak includes being in a crowded environment with someone who is infected - including being in the same class, attending the same sports team or living in a dorm. Mumps can occasionally cause complications, especially in adults. It is as contagious as flu and those infected usually are contagious before symptoms appear and for a few days after, so they can spread the virus without realizing it, according to the announcement. Anyone who does not have immunity to mumps, either through receipt of the two-dose MMR vaccine or a previous mumps infection, should schedule an appointment to receive the vaccine. The CDC recommends that children get two doses of the vaccine, one at 12 to 15 months and the other before entering school.

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The public is being advised to check immunizations records to ensure they are up to date with the mumps vaccine and check with healthcare providers if unsure.

Anyone with a confirmed mumps infection, individuals awaiting test results, or close contacts of anyone with mumps who has not been previously vaccinated, should remain isolated for a recommended period of time as directed by health care professionals. "People should also wash hands, cover coughs, clean surfaces, and stay home when ill", ADPH Assistant State Health Officer Dr. Karen Landers said. People with mumps can spread the illness for up to two days before and five days after symptoms appear.

"ADPH is investigating these notifiable disease cases and working closely with UA to contact potentially exposed people", health officials said in a release.

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