Health officials: King County mumps outbreak rises to 22

SEATTLE -- The number of mumps cases in King County has risen to twenty-two with 5 confirmed and 17 probable cases being investigated, health officials said Friday. Four additional cases are also under investigation.

All the causes are in Auburn.

Public Health Seattle & King County said fifteen patients range in age from 5 to 17.

No one has been hospitalized, and all of the children have recovered. Health officials say all of the children diagnosed are up-to-date on MMR vaccine.

Public Health continues to work with the Auburn School District to identify potential mumps cases and provide information to families and other community members about preventing mumps.

Anyone with symptoms of mumps should keep away from other and not go to school until five days after their glands swell since they are contagious during this period. As standard practice during a mumps outbreak, CDC advises that families with unvaccinated children protect their children and slow the spread of illness by keeping them away from school until they can get at least one vaccination.

“The most effective way to reduce the risk of getting mumps and its complications is to be up to date with MMR vaccinations,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County. “Because some people do not respond to the vaccine and mumps spreads easily from person to person, outbreaks can still occur in vaccinated populations. But, if unvaccinated, many, many, more people would become ill.”

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.

For more information about mumps, click here.