In light of outbreaks of the mumps in the Midwest, the LA County Department of Health is calling for “increased vigilance” for health care facilities/providers to be on the lookout for anyone showing signs of the virus.
As of April 5, a total of 365 mumps cases have been reported in 2006 in Iowa, and an additional 59 cases are being investigated in the neighboring states of Illinois, Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Kansas, and Indiana… Currently, there has not been an atypical increase in the number of mumps cases reported in Los Angeles County. Of the nine suspect mumps reports received to date in 2006 at the Los Angeles County Immunization Program, only one has been confirmed as mumps. Since 2000, the County has had an average of 12 confirmed mumps cases reported each year. (source: LA DoH)
Some of the symptoms of mumps include fever, headache, muscle aches, and swollen glands under the jaw, “followed by onset of parotitis (swollen and tender salivary glands under the ears-on one or both sides).” Spread by coughing and sneezing, mumps is rarely dangerous in children but can lead to more severe long term problems in adults including deafness, meningitis and damage to testicles. (source: NBC San Diego)
Communications assistant Thuy Banh of the Department of Health says that if you think you have the mumps go see a doctor immediately, and that “you should plan to stay home from work or school for at least 9 days (according to CDC) to keep from infecting others.”
If you don’t have a doctor you can find your nearest clinic from this list here or search here. No matter the case, Thuy strongly recommends making an appointment, “so you can reduce the time you spend waiting in the waiting room and potentially passing mumps on to others… (but) if your symptoms become severe, please don’t hesitate to call 911 or use the emergency rooms. That’s what they are there for.”
While there currently isn’t an outbreak of the mumps in Los Angeles, there have been a few cases reported in Southern California. Last week retired LAPD officer, David Walls, 59, now living in San Diego, was diagnosed as carrying mumps. Originally he believed he only had the flu.
“I thought I had an abscess and my whole jaw was swollen,” Walls said, but after the pain became worse and worse he finally “went to an emergency room, where his blood was tested and health care workers confirmed that he had the mumps.” (source: NBC San Diego)
The incubation time, between when someone is exposed to the virus and the time the begin exhibiting symptom, can be anywhere from between two to three weeks, so numerous USC and UCLA students who’ve returned from spring break are still potentially infected individuals.
For more information
Mumps faq from the Center for Disease Control