There is still an outbreak of mumps, and it hasn’t slowed down, according to Andi Walsh, community relations and emergency preparedness coordinator for the Center for Human Development.
“We’ve had new cases,” Walsh said. “There are more people exhibiting the symptoms.”
The outbreaks in Union County started at the beginning of June with four confirmed mumps cases. Walsh said there are still just four confirmed cases but there are up to 100 unconfirmed cases. She said she couldn’t be more specific than that.
“It’s unfortunate that it is so prevalent in the community,” Walsh said.
The most important thing people can do to stop this outbreak is stay home if they think they have mumps.
“We still need folks to keep in mind it’s still out there in the community,” Walsh said. “Get in touch with your provider (by phone) and ask them if (you) need to be isolated.”
Connie Carter, communicable disease nurse for the Center for Human Development’s Public Health Department, said some people may not know they have mumps and are exposing other people to the disease.
“We have cases across all ages, not just children, and our concern is that since the cases are not tied to one part of the community or a specific age group, people are still at risk of getting the disease. (We all) need to stay vigilant about preventing the disease from spreading,” Carter said.
Talking to a provider and getting tested to confirm the disease will also help the health department to obtain accurate numbers about the outbreak.
“If you test positive, then (CHD) can write a letter to your employers to keep you home,” she said. “Sometimes people think they’re getting a cold. However, if you have swollen glands and swollen jaws, that’s the classic sign for mumps.”
She explained that 50 days must pass without any new identified cases in order for CHD to consider the outbreak over.
“We’re nowhere near that,” she said. “With all the public events going on, (the disease) has the potential to spread across the state. We have a lot of people passing through right now. The Elgin Stampede, the county fair, there are too many opportunities to spread farther.”
CHD continues to have vaccination clinics for the mumps vaccine every Friday at their walk-in clinic. Walsh added the local pharmacies also have the vaccine.
“If you haven’t shown the symptoms and likely aren’t sick, then we recommend a booster shot,” Walsh said.