Mumps Outbreak Reported in Pittsburg
The Crawford County Health Department confirms a sixth case of the mumps in Pittsburg, a number they expect to continue rising.
F ever, sore throat and body aches, symptoms easily associated with a winter cold. But Crawford County health officials are now saying it could be the mumps, as the area sees the first outbreak in more than 20 years.
“We need to be proactive and to keep this number of cases to the lowest point that we can because we know our neighboring states are having a problem with mumps as well,” says Janis Goedeke with the Health Department.
She says 5 of the infected individuals recently traveled to Northwest Arkansas and adds that it’s only a matter of time before it spreads in the county.
“I do have a strong indication that this number is going to rise,” says Goedeke.
Local doctors have seen a number of suspected cases in the past week. They say the most obvious sign is a swollen neck and that the disease could be spread before a diagnosis is made.
“It’s contagious for about 3 to 5 days even before the onset of that [swelling] and until about 5 days after that swelling starts,” says Dr. Bethany Enoch with the Community Clinic of Southeast Kansas.
That’s why doctors are encouraging anyone that feels sick to stay home. Mumps spread through the air so for the time being, avoid sharing food or drinks and always wash your hands and sneeze into your elbow.
Anyone concerned that they’ve been in contact with a sick person should make sure they’re fully vaccinated. People with 2 doses of the MMR vaccine are 9 times less likely to get the mumps. However, it is still possible that they’ll catch a less severe case.
“When most people are vaccinated, it prevents the cases from spreading much,” says Dr. Enoch.
Of the confirmed cases, only 1 person was vaccinated.
Health officials say at this point, there’s no reason to panic but community members should look out for symptoms.
One of the confirmed cases is a student in the Pittsburg School District. Officials there say they’ve contacted parents across the district.