April 10, 2006
What do you know about
mumps? To many teens and young adults, mumps is a disease of the
"Mumps is a viral
infection that primarily affects the parotid glands -- one of three
pairs of salivary glands, located below and in front of your ears.
If you or your child contracts mumps, it can cause swelling in one
or both parotid glands. However, your odds of contracting mumps
aren't very high. Mumps was common until the mumps vaccine was licensed
in 1967. Before the vaccine, up to 200,000 cases of mumps occurred
each year in the United States. Since then, the number of cases
has dropped dramatically, so there are now fewer than 300 cases
a year. Mumps is still a common disease in many parts of the world,
though, so prevention is important."
Of those fewer than 300
between the ages of 2 and 12 are most commonly infected, but the
infection can occur in other age groups."
"Iowa, April 6, 2006
- Over 350 mumps cases have now been reported in the state.
That's more cases than a typical year in the entire country."
Iowa has had the most cases
during this particular epidemic, and unvaccinated children are the
minority these cases.
"The Kansas Department
of Health and Environment is investigating whether the Douglas County
cases, and two additional cases in Saline and Norton counties, are
related to a mumps epidemic sweeping through Iowa. Iowa has reported
about 300 cases. The two KU students, both 19, became ill in the
past three weeks, KU officials said in a statement. One tested positive
for mumps over spring break while at home in Illinois and has since
recovered and returned to campus. The second student was under a
doctor's supervision. ... But with most Douglas County cases occurring
among 19- to 26-year-olds, health officials are concerned that the
illness could make its way through the campus. 'The kids are in
close contact, and this spreads quickly,' said Sheryl Tirol-Goodwin
of the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department. ... 'Since it
is a contagious illness and we have a very mobile society, we would
expect there could be some impact (from Iowa) on surrounding states,'
said Howard Rodenberg, director of the Kansas Department of Health
and Environment division of health. ... People with mumps can be
contagious before and after their symptoms appear. 'Be mindful,'
Tirol-Goodwin said. 'Wash your hands. Don't cough or sneeze on people.
If you have symptoms, stay home.'"
Symptoms to watch for include:
muscle ache, and swelling of the glands close to the jaw."
Why the concern?
mumps include] Meningitis, inflammation of the testicles or ovaries,
inflammation of the pancreas and deafness (usually permanent)."
To avoid these and other
possible complications, it is recommended that most people get vaccinated.
The decision to get vaccinated involves taking into consideration
each person's unique health status. Because of complications that
some may encounter as a result of the vaccine, it is important for
individuals to talk with their doctors about what is right for them.
"For mumps vaccine,
the following should be considered:
- "Allergies--Tell your doctor
if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction....
- "Pregnancy--...[U]se during
pregnancy is not recommended, because mumps vaccine may infect
the placenta, although the vaccine has not been shown to cause
- "Breast-feeding--Mumps vaccine
virus may pass into breast milk. However, this vaccine has not
been reported to cause problems in nursing babies.
- "Children--Use is not recommended
for infants up to 12 months of age....
- "Other medicines--Although certain
medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two
different medicines may be used together even if an interaction
might occur. ... [I]t is especially important that your health
care professional know if you have received any of the
following: * Cancer medicines or * Corticosteroids ... or * Radiation
- "Other medical problems--The
presence of other medical problems may affect the use of mumps
vaccine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other
Questions of the Week:
Why do teens and young adults need to know about mumps in 2006?
What should you, your peers, and your family know about mumps? Why
and how does knowledge of an epidemic in Iowa affect those who live
hundreds -- or thousands -- of miles away?
Please email me with any ideas or suggestions.
Note: Due to increasing amounts of SPAM sent to this account, please include "QOW" in the subject line when sending me email.
I look forward to reading
what you have to say.
Health Community Coordinator
Access Excellence @ the National Health Museum