PROVO — A case of the mumps has been confirmed in Utah County, and the local health department is asking people to help avoid spreading the highly contagious viral disease.
The Utah County Health Department is not releasing information about the identity of the person with mumps, but did say the person was not vaccinated.
"Mumps can be prevented through vaccination," Dr. David Flinders, health department medical director, said Wednesday. He said people should make sure they have had two doses of the MMR vaccine, "which protects against mumps."
At least seven cases of mumps have been confirmed in Sanpete County, with six more suspected, and another case is being investigated in Wasatch County. Health department officials have also investigated at least one case of suspected mumps in Salt Lake County.
Mumps begins with a fever and/or headache and swelling of the salivary glands. Other symptoms include fatigue and muscle aches and a loss of appetite. Mumps can have other complications, including inflammation throughout the body and the brain.
Symptoms typically appear 16 to 18 days after exposure to the virus, which is spread through saliva or mucus and objects or surfaces touched by an infected person.
Aside from vaccination, the health department encourages people not to share food, utensils and other items that may contain saliva, as well as to wash hands properly and often.
People who get mumps should stay home for five days after the onset of symptoms and limit contact with others, the health department reports.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 736 people have been infected with mumps so far this year. Mumps cases have been on the rise throughout the country since late 2015, the CDC reports.12 comments on this story
Mumps cases in the U.S. decreased by more than 99 percent after the two-dose MMR vaccination program was introduced in 1989. But since 2006, the CDC reports, "there have been several increases in cases and outbreaks about every five years."
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, vaccination rates have continued to drop since a controversial 1998 study suggesting a connection between the vaccine and autism in young children was published. Several studies have since disproved that connection.