Last year, the United States saw a huge increase in the number of reported cases of mumps, and so far 2017 is picking up where 2016 left off.
There have been a couple of huge outbreaks recently where hundreds of students have come down with the mumps. Fortunately, we haven't seen that here in Georgia, but the number of cases does appear to be on the rise and it is affecting us locally.
Four of the six confirmed cases of mumps in Georgia are SCAD students, but there are also now 17 other cases that are probable or suspected in the state.
"They will experience things such as fever, headaches, just intense malaise,” said Dr. Carlos Victorica. “The hallmark for mumps is usually a swelling around the Parotid glands. This is the area that glands will have in this region near the angle of the on both sides of the neck. It's usually very painful and very marked."
Mumps is a viral disease spread by coughing, sneezing and exposure to saliva from someone who is sick, one reason it can spread so quickly in school settings. Even the National Hockey League got hit by an outbreak, with five players on the Vancouver Canucks sidelined by Mumps.
"The difficulty with mumps is there are also people who are asymptomatic at the time of presentation, so they can spread it in the beginning stages fairly simply," Victorica said.
Also, some of those who have come down with the mumps had gotten the MMR vaccine as a child. It's important to get in touch with a doctor if you have been around someone who has been diagnosed with Mumps or aren't feeling well yourself.
"If you have symptoms that you can't explain, you've got fever and you are just not behaving the way you should, your mental status is very strange, your neck is becoming very stiff where it normally, these are things that are not usual,” Victorica said. “And also if you notice a profound swelling. These are things that you should be seen immediately with by a healthcare practitioner."
Despite there being some question about whether the vaccination wanes over time, Victorica said the main hallmark for prevention is to always to get your vaccines.
Symptoms typically appear 16-to-18 days after infection, and most people recover just fine, but that can take several weeks.
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