Two young people have been diagnosed with mumps in Spokane County, in spite of being fully vaccinated against the disease.
The Spokane Regional Health District said Wednesday two cases had been confirmed in people between the age of 10 and 20. Both patients visited healthcare providers in the past week, health district spokeswoman Kim Papich said.
Although a measles-mumps-rubella vaccine prevents about 88 percent of mumps cases after two doses, it’s possible for someone who has been vaccinated against the disease to get sick.
Vaccination remains the best way to prevent mumps, health officials said.
“Although we hope to contain this to just two cases, mumps outbreaks are something we are seeing across the United States,” said Dr. Sam Artzis, the health district’s interim health officer, in a news release. “We urge individuals to make sure that they, and their loved ones, are up to date on the MMR vaccine.”
High vaccination rates also ensure people who can’t get the vaccine because of medical conditions are better protected.
“Vaccination is not just about protecting the individual but about protecting the community too,” Papich said.
Papich said the health district is investigating how these two people got sick, but said typically when multiple cases are diagnosed in a short period of time, it means the sick people had contact with each other.
“Mumps is contracted through close, prolonged contact with someone who is symptomatic,” she said.
It’s not yet clear whether the cases are related to the ongoing mumps outbreak in western Washington.
The cases are not connected to a previous Spokane County mumps outbreak, which was declared over on Dec. 5. Four people at Whitworth University were diagnosed with mumps in September and October. All of them also had been vaccinated.
Mumps can cause cold or flu-like symptoms, including facial swelling or pain and tenderness along the jawline and neck along with discomfort while swallowing. Men can feel testicular pain while women can feel pain in the pelvis. Symptoms can appear anywhere from 12 to 25 days after exposure.
Before the mumps vaccine was in use, the disease caused about 186,000 cases in the U.S. each year, some of which led to permanent deafness in children, according to the CDC. Mumps cases have fallen 99 percent since the vaccine was introduced, though the U.S. has seen periodic outbreaks.
Outbreaks are much larger in areas with lower vaccine coverage rates, the CDC says.
Mumps is spread through saliva and mucus, and can pass from person to person through coughing, sneezing, talking or touching an unwashed surface that an infected person has touched.
Prior to this year, Spokane County’s last mumps case was in 2009.
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