Archive for Thursday, April 27, 2006

Mumps continue to spread in state, area

April 27, 2006

State and local health officials continue to monitor an outbreak of mumps in Kansas.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment on Tuesday reported 241 confirmed cases of mumps throughout 31 counties in the state, including Johnson County.

Sharon Watson, director of communications for the KDHE, said Kansas statistics of those with the disease include patients who have already recovered.

The Regional Public Health Committee, made up of 10 health departments in the Kansas City metropolitan area, issued a press release Monday stating there have been four confirmed cases and 54 possible other cases in the area.

"Several of our local public health agencies are starting to see cases of the mumps, and are actively investigating them and following up with those identified cases," Dr. Leon Vinci of the Johnson County Health Department wrote in a prepared statement. "I am confident our public health departments are doing everything possible to inform the public, and that we can control the spread of this disease in the Kansas City metropolitan area with the cooperation of the community. The key is the cooperation of the public."

The largest number of cases continues to be in Douglas County and Kansas University, where the disease was first reported. As of Wednesday, there had been 124 in Douglas County.

In the Midwest, there have been 975 cases in Iowa, according to the KDHE, with the average age of those who have gotten the mumps being 22. In Nebraska, there were 44 confirmed cases and several more cases are under investigation.

De Soto USD 232 nurse coordinator Chris McPherson said no cases had yet been reported in the De Soto schools.

According to state health regulations, all kindergartners are required to have two immunizations for measles, mumps and rubella before entering school. Religious and other exemptions are allowed.

Public health agencies, however, are reporting that in some of the mumps cases, patients have already been vaccinated.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, mumps is a viral infection of the salivary glands that is spread by respiratory droplets. The disease can be spread through the air and by eating and drinking from items contaminated by the virus found in saliva. Symptoms include swelling around the jaw, fever, headache, muscle aches and tiredness. These symptoms usually appear about 16 to 18 days after infection but can last 12 to 25 days after infection, according to the CDC.

Other ways to avoid the disease are hand washing and good hygiene, covering one's cough or sneeze. Health officials recommend anyone with mumps stay away from home or work.

For more information about mumps, visit the Centers for Disease Control Web site at www.cdc.gov/nip/diseases/mumps.

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