LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) – A number of mumps cases have now been identified in Pulaski County; however, no schools in Pulaski County are affected at this time.

As of today, 769 individuals have been involved in the outbreak since it began in late August. The Arkansas Department of Health is urging Arkansas residents to make sure they and their loved ones are up-to-date on their mumps, measles, rubella (MMR) vaccine and practice infection control by washing hands regularly and staying home if they suspect they are sick.

“We are very concerned about this outbreak,” said Dirk Haselow, MD, PhD, State Epidemiologist and Outbreak Response Medical Director for ADH. “Mumps can have serious complications. We continue to see a high number of new cases. Pulaski County residents should be aware of this outbreak and the potential for infection and should ensure that they are up-to-date with their MMR vaccine.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mumps is a viral illness that is transmitted by direct contact with respiratory droplets or saliva from an infected person. It is best known for painful, swollen salivary glands that show up as puffy cheeks and swollen jaw.

Mumps is usually a mild disease in children, but adults may have more serious disease with complications. Complications can include deafness and encephalitis. Encephalitis is inflammation of the brain.

The MMR vaccine is safe and effective. Two doses of MMR vaccine is 88% effective in preventing mumps. It is a live virus vaccine and is not recommended for pregnant women or patients with a weakened immune system. Adults born before 1957 are generally considered to be immune to mumps and do not need to receive the MMR vaccine.