Two additional cases of mumps confirmed in Watauga County

- Two cases of mumps were confirmed in Watauga County on April 27 and 28, making a total of three confirmed cases in the county for the year.

The two additional cases are in an Appalachian State University student and a Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute (CCC&TI) student. All confirmed cases are residents of Watauga County.

Officials at both Appalachian State University and CCC&TI are reviewing the class rosters of their respective students’ scheduled classes and are working to evaluate and communicate with individuals who may have come into direct contact with the sick students and therefore may be more susceptible to contracting mumps.

Additionally, public health officials are working to identify the students’ interactions during the potential infectious period.

Appalachian State University students with symptoms of concern should contact Student Health Services at 828-262-3100. Calls to this number are answered 24/7.

Watauga County residents who are concerned about symptoms are encouraged to contact their primary care providers, urgent care or Watauga Medical Center.

Those exhibiting any of the symptoms listed below should take precautionary steps to limit contact with others. The most effective prevention measure is vaccinations.

What causes mumps?

Mumps is caused by a virus.

How does mumps spread?

The mumps virus is spread through direct contact with respiratory secretions or saliva or through sharing items like cups or utensils with an infected person. The risk of spreading the virus increases the longer and the closer the contact a person has with someone who has mumps. The average incubation period (from exposure to onset of illness) for mumps is 16 to 18 days, with a range of 12– 25 days. People with mumps are considered most infectious from two days before through five days after the onset of symptoms.

What are the symptoms of mumps?

Individuals with mumps usually first feel sick with nonspecific symptoms like headache, loss of appetite, and low-grade fever. The most well-known sign of mumps is parotitis, the swelling of the parotid salivary glands, below the ear. Some people who get mumps have very mild or no symptoms, and often they do not know they have the disease. There are no medicines to treat mumps, but most people recover completely in a few weeks.

Prevention

Vaccination is the best way to prevent mumps. Two doses of MMR vaccine are approximately 88% effective at preventing the disease; one dose is approximately 78% effective.

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