At least 30 cases have been identified in the state of Nebraska in 2019, a “significant increase,” according to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.
The department identified two recent outbreaks, including a wedding in the Northeast Nebraska Public Health Department’s jurisdiction, which includes Cedar, Dixon, Thurston and Wayne counties. The other occurred at a workplace in the Four Corners Health Department’s jurisdiction, which includes Butler, Polk, York and Seward counties.
Nebraska only saw a few cases a year from 2013-2015, but saw a jump in 2016, with 49 cases. After going back down to six cases in 2017, 2018 saw 12 cases.
Amy Roberts, disease surveillance coordinator at the Three Rivers Public Department, said Dodge County has not seen any confirmed cases of mumps this year, or in the past few years.
“Unfortunately, mumps could become an issue going forward just because we know that it is here in Nebraska and it is an issue that’s cropping up national,” she said.
One classic symptom that people usually associate with mumps is parotitis, which is swelling around the jaw area, Roberts said.
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“But there could be other non-specific symptoms like fever, headaches, tiredness or a loss of appetite,” she said. “So it can kind of range from cold-like symptoms, or it can be the puffy cheeks, which is the classic sign of mumps.”
Roberts said it’s most important that people check with their physicians to make sure they are up to date on their measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine.
“As an adult, if you’ve never had it, make sure that you’ve had at least one dose of the MMR,” she said. “And that is by far the best thing that someone can do to protect themselves against becoming infected with mumps.”
The mumps can be prevented by avoiding sharing drinking glasses and disinfecting surfaces.
“I think people need to just be aware of good health practices like covering your cough, washing your hands, but first and foremost, making sure that you’re protected with a vaccination,” Roberts said. “That’s by far the best public health and health tool that we have to prevent outbreaks and prevent a lot of people from becoming sick with this.”