The number of confirmed cases of mumps in the San Diego region this year has reached an unusually high level of 19 after a student at San Diego State University was found to have the contagious viral disease, the county Health and Human Services Agency reported Monday.
This year’s total is far above the three or fewer annual cases reported locally in the past few years, according to the HHSA.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported 2,570 mumps cases nationally this year, the largest number since 2010, when 2,612 cases were reported. The median age of mumps cases reported across the country is 21 years.
The SDSU student was an off-campus housemate of someone else who was sick earlier and might have also had the illness, county health officials said.
Mumps cases have also been reported recently at Cal State San Marcos and San Diego Christian College, but no connection has been found.
“SDSU is working closely with the county to inform the university community about the symptoms of mumps and vaccine recommendations,” said Dr. Sayone Thihalolipavan, the county deputy public health officer.
“These unrelated cases at campuses in the county mean that mumps may be present in the community, which is why we encourage that everyone be up-to- date with measles, mumps and rubella immunizations.”
Mumps is spread by coughing, sneezing or close contact with an infected person. Mumps causes a fever, headache, earache and inflammation of the salivary glands that results in swelling and tenderness at the angle of the jaw.
Anyone who thinks they may have mumps should contact their health provider before going for care so proper precautions can be taken to prevent exposure to others, according to the HHSA.
Health officials said severe complications are rare, but can include meningitis, decreased fertility, permanent hearing loss and, in extreme cases, fetal loss during first trimester of pregnancy. There is no treatment for mumps, but most people recover without problems.
County health officials said the best way to prevent mumps is by getting the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. Two doses of the vaccine are recommended — one at 12 to 15 months of age and another at 4 to 6 years of age. A third booster shot is recommended for those in close living conditions when there is an outbreak.
More information about mumps, other vaccine-preventable diseases, and the vaccines that protect against them, is available online at sdiz.org or by calling the County HHSA Immunization Program at (866) 358-2966.
–City News Service
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