Charlotte, NC – Mecklenburg County Health Department officials announced today that test results confirm the first case of mumps in several years in Mecklenburg County.
An elementary school-aged child was seen by physicians in mid-April after the mother picked the child up from an after-school day care program and noticed the child's cheeks were swollen on both sides. Laboratory tests were initiated and the specimens sent to the state lab in Raleigh for more testing.
Letters were immediately sent to parents at the child's daycare making them aware of the possibility that mumps could be an issue. Early this week, results of the tests were confirmed to be positive for mumps and follow up letters with the confirmed diagnosis were sent to the daycare and elementary school the child attends.
According to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta an average of about 250 cases of mumps are usually reported in the United States each year. The recent outbreak of more than 1100 cases in the Midwest has drawn national attention bringing mumps back in to the spotlight.
Mumps is a disease that is caused by a virus that is contagious and usually spreads in tiny drops of fluid from the mouth and nose of someone who is infected. After exposure, symptoms may be seen 14-25 days later in persons who are not immune (protected). Symptoms include fever, muscle aches, loss of appetite, fatigue, headache, earache, tenderness or pain in the jaw area, and swelling in the salivary glands under and in front of the ears. Complications can include viral meningitis, inflammation of the testicles or ovaries, inflammation of the pancreas and loss of hearing.
The infectious period or time that an infected person can transmit mumps to a non-infected person is from 3 days before symptoms appear to about 9 days after the symptoms appear. The incubation time, which is the period from when a person is exposed to virus to the onset of any symptoms, can vary from 16 to 18 days (range 12-25 days).
Mumps vaccine (usually MMR), is the best way to prevent mumps for both children and adults. The MMR is routinely given at age fifteen months and after the fourth birthday. Other things people can do to prevent mumps and other infections is to wash hands well and often with soap, and to teach children to wash their hands too. Eating utensils should not be shared, and surfaces that are frequently touched (toys, doorknobs, tables, counters, etc) should also be regularly cleaned with soap and water, or with cleaning wipes.
People are encouraged to consult their physicians if they suspect they or a family member has symptoms or have been exposed to mumps.
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