DHHS reports seeing significant increase in mumps cases

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services has seen a significant increase in mumps cases related to two recent outbreaks.

DHHS said in a press release at least 30 cases have been identified mainly among attendees of a wedding in Northeast Nebraska Public Health Department’s jurisdiction (Cedar, Dixon, Thurston and Wayne counties) and a workplace in Four Corners Health Department’s jurisdiction (Butler, Polk, York and Seward counties).

The cases so far this year mark the highest total since 2016 when 49 cases were reported. A total of 18 cases were reported in the last two years. 

York Middle School officials said Wednesday a case of mumps has been confirmed in one child.

The press release said DHHS is working with local health departments to investigate reported cases.

“Mumps is a highly contagious illness and it’s spread by coughing, sneezing and sharing saliva,” said Dr. Tom Safranek, State Epidemiologist for DHHS. “If people start experiencing mumps-like symptoms, they should contact their health care provider, and health care providers should be on the lookout for mumps cases.”

Mumps causes swelling of glands in the face and neck. Other symptoms may include:

  • Ear ache
  • Jaw pain
  • Testicular pain
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches

If people have symptoms of mumps, health officials recommend avoiding public activities and contacting a physician.

People with mumps are most contagious three days before and five days after their symptoms begin.

Pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems are at increased risk of complications from the mumps virus. 

Antibiotics are not a treatment for mumps because mumps is a viral infection; however, symptoms like pain and fever can be addressed.

People who have had mumps are likely to be immune from the virus. If a person has been vaccinated, it is less likely, but possible to become infected. Over time, protection against the virus can decrease. Mumps-containing vaccines are still the best line of defense and people are encouraged to check their vaccination records to see if they have received two doses of a mumps-containing vaccine, and if not, contact your health care provider.

DHHS says ways to protect yourself against mumps includes: getting vaccinated, not sharing drinking glasses, eating utensils, water bottles, or other things that have saliva on them, covering your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze, staying home when you’re sick, washing hands frequently, and cleaning surfaces.

Additional information on mumps is available at: http://dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/Mumps.aspx or http://cdc.gov/mumps

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