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Mumps case at Tacoma Community College

March 9, 2017

Student contracted the virus away from school

Student spent limited time on campus while contagious. Immunization is best protection against mumps.

TACOMA, Wash. – Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department received confirmation that a student at Tacoma Community College has mumps. The student will not return to school while contagious. The student contracted mumps away from campus.

Because possible exposure to the student was limited and brief, the Health Department recommended TCC only notify the small number of classmates who may have come in contact with the student. TCC has already notified those students.

“Contagious diseases like mumps threaten our health where we live, learn, work, and play,” said Nigel Turner, communicable disease division director at Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. “Immunizations helps us protect ourselves, our families, and our communities,” Turner said.

The measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine is the best protection against mumps and is highly effective to prevent the virus and reduce outbreaks. Because mumps is highly contagious among people who are in close contact for prolonged periods, it can spread easily and quickly in a school setting.

What is mumps?

Mumps is a highly contagious viral illness. An infected person can spread it through face-to-face contact by coughing, sneezing, or spraying saliva while talking. Mumps can also spread when people share cups and eating utensils. Mumps is a condition that health providers must report to the local health department when a probable or diagnosed case occurs.

What are the symptoms?

Mumps causes puffy cheeks and a swollen jaw, the result of swollen salivary glands. Other symptoms are:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle Aches
  • Tiredness
  • Loss of Appetite

Up to 10% of teen boys and men can experience swelling of the testicles. Meningitis and encephalitis are rare but serious complications of mumps.

How can you prevent mumps?

Immunization is the most effective way to prevent mumps. Everyone should make sure they are up to date on their MMR vaccine. Children must have two doses of the MMR vaccine to attend school. Other ways to protect yourself:

  • Avoid contact with anyone infected with mumps.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Don’t share cups and eating utensils.

Who is more likely to get mumps?

  • Babies less than one year old.
  • Children older than one who have not received at least one dose of the MMR.
  • Adults born in or after 1957 who have not been vaccinated or have not had mumps before.

Recent mumps cases in the region started with an outbreak in south King County. Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department identified the first Pierce County probable mumps cases Dec. 9. As of March 9, the Health Department has received reports of 58 mumps cases. Get more information about mumps, including updated case counts at www.tpchd.org/mumps

About Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department: Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department’s mission is to protect and improve the health of all people and places in Pierce County. As part of our mission, the Health Department tackles known and emerging health risks through policy, programs and treatment in order to protect public health. We are one of only 163 accredited health departments in the country and among six in the state to have met or exceeded the Public Health Accreditation Board’s quality standards. Learn more at www.tpchd.org.

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