The Whitman County Health Department announced Thursday it has taken reports of four cases of mumps within the past seven days.
The cases are located between Colfax and Pullman, said Maggee Davis, a registered nurse with Whitman County Health Department.
Between October and March 22, 664 cases of mumps were reported in Washington, though primarily in Spokane, King, Snohomish and Pierce counties. King and Spokane counties reported the highest numbers of cases – 240 and 283, respectively.
According to disease outbreak information from the Washington State Department of Health, the incidence of mumps cases has increased drastically since 2013, a year in which there were only two cases statewide. The number increased to nine cases in 2014 and dropped to seven in 2015. The DOH reported 155 cases in 2016, and 473 cases so far in 2017.
The Whitman County Health Department reported infected people can spread the disease two days before symptoms appear and up to five days after symptoms are present. Symptoms include the distinctive swelling of the salivary glands in one or both cheeks, which affects the space in front of the ear down to the neck or jaw, as well as fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness and loss of appetite. Symptoms generally last seven to 10 days.
Anyone who suspects they have mumps should contact a physician for evaluation and take measures to prevent the spreading of the disease, including covering the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, frequent hand washing and avoiding sharing drinks and utensils.
Frequently touched surfaces, such as counters, tables, doorknobs and toys should be frequently disinfected.
The department also recommends residents make certain they are up to date on the MMR vaccine, which provides protection from the disease and can greatly reduce the risk of complications. The vaccine also protects against measles and rubella.
A two-dose vaccine schedule for measles, mumps, rubella and varicella vaccines are suggested for children, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The first dose is recommended at 12-15 months of age and the second at 4-6 years.
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