RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – North Carolina health officials are urging citizens to take caution after seven cases of the mumps were identified in the state during the month of April.
The cases were identified in Orange, Wake and Watauga counties.
College and elementary school students are among those affected, officials said.
“The most effective way to prevent mumps is to get vaccinated,” said Dr. Zack Moore, North Carolina State epidemiologist. “Anyone who thinks they might have mumps should contact their physician and have appropriate laboratory testing.”
Mumps is making a comeback is because people haven’t been vaccinating against it, said Dr. Sue Lynn Ledford with the Wake County Health Department.
“All of the vaccine-preventable diseases are really important for people to make sure they’re current on those vaccines, because we’re hearing of cases now; mumps, measles, pertussis, whooping cough,” she said. “Those kinds of things are preventable with vaccines.”
Mumps causes the the salivary glands below the ears and above the jaw to swell – a condition called parotitis. Males with the virus can also experience testicular swelling.
The virus is spread through fluid from the nose, mouth or throat, state health officials said.
“I actually spoke to someone this morning whose husband has been deaf in one ear since age three following mumps. So, you’re right, the severe cases are rare, but they can occur and they can have lifelong consequences,” said Jean-Marie Maillard, medical epidemiologist with the North Carolina Division of Public Health.
The virus is contagious and is spread by bodily fluids. Health officials say the best thing you can do is get vaccinated, and if you aren’t sure whether you have been, they say getting vaccinated for mumps again won’t hurt you.