Health Department Issues Mumps Alert

DATE: April 17, 2006
Contact: Communication Office
802-863-7281

BURLINGTON – An ongoing outbreak of mumps in the Midwest prompted the Vermont Department of Health today to ask health care providers to be on the alert for possible cases of mumps occurring here in Vermont.

The outbreak, the nation’s largest in 20 years, began several months ago in Iowa. Since then, Iowa has identified over 600 cases. Most people affected are in the 18-24 year-old age range. Up to 50 percent of infections are associated with respiratory symptoms, particularly in children under 5 years of age.

In recent weeks, the outbreak appears to have spread to eight other Midwest states.

“Mumps is characterized by fever, and swelling and tenderness of one or more salivary glands,” said Cort Lohff, MD, state epidemiologist for the Vermont Department of Health.“These symptoms usually resolve without complications, although rare complications are known to occur, especially among older children and adults. Anyone with these symptoms should call their health care provider, who can test for mumps.”

A safe and effective vaccine against mumps has been available since 1967. Almost all children in Vermont now routinely receive two doses of a mumps-containing vaccine prior to school entry. However, as the vaccine is not 100 percent effective, 5 percent of people who are vaccinated remain susceptible.

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