PCPH sends letter to Win-E-Mac School parents about cases in the school

    Although a measles outbreak this spring in the Twin Cities metro area this spring received a great deal of media coverage and resulted in the ramping up of the ongoing vaccination debate – which the vast majority of experts feel should have been settled long ago – mumps has been a bigger issue than usual of late in Minnesota as well.

    Earlier this spring, a mumps outbreak was reported on the University of Minnesota campus in the Twin Cities. Although appears to be unrelated to anything happening on that campus, Polk County Public Health is currently monitoring a trio of lab-confirmed mumps cases in the county. PCPH Director Sarah Reese confirmed the report after a June 1 PCPH letter sent to parents of Win-E-Mac School students in Erskine alerted them to confirmed cases of mumps at the WEM school identified at the end of the school year.

    “Minnesota is currently seeing an increase in mumps,” Reese said. “The best way to protect yourself is to make sure you are vaccinated with MMR vaccine.”

    Mumps and measles are both covered by the MMR (Measles-Mumps-Rubella” vaccine.

    So what is mumps, exactly?

    It’s an infection caused by a virus that can cause swelling and tenderness of the salivary glands in the cheeks/jaw. Symptoms of mumps include low-grade fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, loss of appetite, and swollen salivary glands under the ears or jaw on one or both sides of the face.

    Reese advises people to 1) check their immunization record (MMR) and be educated/vaccinated with MMR vaccine (if not vaccinated), 2) be aware of the symptoms and 3) telephone their healthcare provider if people have symptoms.