You have probably heard about the recent outbreak of mumps in Hawaii. The Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) identified more than 100 cases of mumps this year, a significant increase from the ten cases identified in 2016. The DOH confirmed that the disease has affected adults and children, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, and none of the diagnosed individuals reported needing hospitalization. To help prevent the spread of mumps in the community, it is important to know the facts and how to protect yourself.
Mumps is a contagious disease caused by a virus and affects the salivary glands. The infection is typically short‐term and resolves within a few days to two weeks. Mumps is rare with fewer than 20,000 cases in the U.S. per year, but outbreaks still occur.
The virus is spread through saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose, or throat, which can be dispersed by coughing or sneezing. It can also be spread through contact with contaminated surfaces.
The time between exposure to the virus and the onset of symptoms is 16 to 25 days. Symptoms may range in severity. The most common symptoms include:
- Painful, swollen salivary glands
- Loss of appetite
- Muscle aches
Complications from mumps are not common, but may include inflammation of the brain, the tissue surrounding the brain, testicles, ovaries, and/or breast tissue; and deafness. If you have not been vaccinated or begin experiencing symptoms of mumps, you should contact your doctor immediately.
Mumps can be prevented with the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine. The vaccine is safe and about 88% effective when two doses are given. The vaccine can be given at your health provider’s office or at a participating pharmacy.
There are multiple factors to consider when deciding if the MMR vaccine is medically necessary for you. We strongly recommend you make this decision after consulting your primary care physician.
John E. Aoki, M.D., CHCQM, FABQAURP
Chief Medical Officer
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