What is mumps and how does it spread?
A state epidemiologist confirmed Thursday that seven elementary and college students in Orange, Wake and Watauga counties are among those with confirmed cases of the mumps.
The cases were reported in April. The announcement comes on the heels of a report earlier this week that a UNC-Chapel Hill student was being tested for a probable case of the mumps. UNC’s Campus Health Services reported Thursday that all tests on the UNC student have been negative for mumps.
While vaccination programs have made the once-common, infectious childhood disease more rare, incidents still occur, experts said. However, the infection rate and the risk for complications is higher for those who have not been vaccinated.
Now is a good time to make sure your vaccines are up to date, said officials with the North Carolina Division of Public Health.
“The most effective way to prevent mumps is to get vaccinated,” State Epidemiologist Zack Moore said. “Anyone who thinks they might have mumps should contact their physician and have appropriate laboratory testing.”
Someone infected with mumps may not know for two weeks to nearly a month after contracting it.
The disease causes swelling in the salivary glands, and in mens and boys, inflammation of the testicles. Those infected or suspected of having mumps should stay home and limit contact with others for five days after the salivary glands swell or until mumps is ruled out.
Good hygiene can reduce the risk of spreading mumps, experts say. That includes frequent hand washing with soap and water, covering your mouth when coughing and not sharing cups or food utensils.