The Nassau County Department of Health in consultation with the New York State Department of Health is investigating an increase incidence of mumps in individuals who reside in Long Beach and the surrounding communities of Nassau County. To date, 18 cases of mumps have been investigated in Nassau County. The cases under investigation include young adults who have or had mumps-like symptoms.
This investigation is ongoing with additional cases expected. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), outbreaks of mumps have occurred throughout the United States in the highly vaccinated population. These outbreaks have ranged in size from a few to several hundred cases, having mostly affected young adults, and are likely due to a combination of factors. These factors include the known effectiveness of the vaccine, lack of previous exposure to the virus, and the intensity of the exposure setting (such as a college campus) coupled with behaviors that increase the risk of transmission.
Mumps is a contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus which is transmitted through droplets from an infected person’s cough, sneeze, saliva or from direct contact with an infected surface. It is best known for the puffy cheeks and swollen jaw caused by inflammation of the salivary glands under the ears on one or both sides. Other common symptoms include low-grade fever, muscle aches, fatigue and loss of appetite.
After a person is exposed to mumps, symptoms typically appear 16 to 18 days after infection, but this period can range from 12-25 days after infection. There is no treatment for mumps.
The Nassau County Department of Health is advising individuals who may have been exposed or are experiencing symptoms consistent with mumps to contact their health care provider. To avoid exposing others to mumps, individuals are advised to telephone their health care provider prior to visiting a health care facility.
Individuals who are experiencing symptoms of mumps should stay home for a minimum of five days after the onset of symptoms. The CDC suggests that individuals who are contacts of mumps cases that have one dose of mumps vaccine or no known history or documentation of mumps vaccine, receive an additional dose of vaccine.
Nassau County Health Commissioner Dr. Lawrence Eisenstein reminds residents to take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of mumps:
- Do not share drinks, food, eating utensils or other personal items that may contain saliva.
- Individuals who are ill with these symptoms should stay home, and away from public places for five days after the onset of symptoms and limit contact with others in their household.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water is not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue if you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs.
For additional information about the mumps, visit the New York State Department of Health website at http://www.health.ny.gov/publications/2440/.