Mumps cases are currently on the rise across several states in America. Local health officials are sending caution and reminders to worried parents that the outbreak can be controlled if they don't forget to vaccinate their kids.
In Kansas, some 56 mumps cases were reported from Feb. 6 to March 13, according to Newstalk KZRG. An outbreak of mumps was also reported in nearby states like Missouri, Alabama and Oklahoma.
Health officials in Chicago were also alerted to the rise in mumps cases in recent months despite schools requiring students to have up-to-date immunization, per Chicago Tribune. Some parents, however, have opted out of this based on religious or philosophical belief as well as medical exceptions from the public health office.
"Certainly we're asking everyone to make sure they're up to date on their mumps vaccination," Janis Goedeke of the Kansan Health Office said. "Number two, we're asking people if they are ill, please stay home."
Deanna Durica of the Cook County health office in Oklahoma appealed to parents who have a different mindset about vaccination to reconsider for the sake of the children's health. "We're reminding parents who might be fearful of or have gotten misinformation about vaccines that immunizing your children is the best way to protect them from many diseases, including mumps," she said.
Mumps is a viral infection that causes the swelling and inflammation of the salivary glands. Parents need to watch for symptoms like fever and enlargement around the jaw area, as well as muscle aches and pains.
There are no medicines for fighting off the virus except for the vaccine, which is supposed to be given first to babies between 12 to 15 months. An immunization boost must then be given when the child is around four to six years, according to WGNTV.
If a child has mumps, health expert Tiffany Wiksten advised proper hand washing and covering the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. "Also make sure we're cleaning and disinfecting commonly touched surfaces, countertops, tables, toys, not sharing utensils with people."
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