Mumps: What you need to know

There are now 135 cases of mumps in Arkansas, creating growing concern over the contagious viral infection.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- New information from the Arkansas Department of Health states that there are now 135 cases of mumps in northwest Arkansas.

The rising numbers are causing concern over the contagious viral infection of the salivary glands.

It doesn't look good, and it certainly doesn't feel good. Dr. Dirk Haselow, the Arkansas State Epidemiologist, says mumps is a disease that became uncommon with the advent of vaccines.

"In the last 15 years the highest number we had is 14."

Now, we're at 135.

People who contract mumps often experience fever, headache, muscle aches and swollen glands.

Dr. Haselow says that it is spread in the same way as colds and flu, through droplets of saliva.

"Swelling of the salivary gland in the side of your cheek. Usually people have those symptoms for about a week and they get better.  Rarely, people can develop deafness, encephalitis."

Doctors say the most protection you need are two doses of the vaccine, and some people may have only gotten one.

Dr. Gary Wheeler, Chief Medical Officer at the health department is recommending a third dose of the vaccine to specific groups that are close to the mumps cases.

“Unless you're a health care worker taking care of these people or you're an adult who's in contact with a case we would recommend a booster dose."

Haselow says that the best advice is to double check your health records.

"What everyone around the state can do is just make sure they're up to date with your immunizations."

The health department expects even more cases in the weeks to come.


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