By Sgt. 1st Class Michael BehlinDecember 28, 2017
FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii - Over the past year, the state of Hawaii has seen an increasing amount of cases involving mumps infection statewide. The Hawaii State Department of Health has confirmed the disease in both children and adults, both vaccinated and unvaccinated.
For those unfamiliar, the mumps is a contagious disease caused by a virus, easily spread through the saliva or mucus of the mouth, nose, and throat. The most common symptom is swelling of the salivary glands under the ears, causing the jaw to be tender and swollen. Additional symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, loss of appetite and fatigue. Those affected may start to experience symptoms 16-18 days after infection with the virus.
"If you are diagnosed with mumps, some have mild to no symptoms, and most recover in a few weeks. Treatment is symptomatic, with the individual encouraged to drink plenty of fluids, and take over the counter pain medications as needed for symptoms such as headaches and body aches," said Lt. Col. Matthew V. Fargo, the 8th Theater Sustainment Command's command surgeon. "Individuals who are unable to drink fluids, or who have severe headaches and significant neck stiffness should go to the ER for additional follow-up."
According to Fargo, all Service Members are currently being screened for their mumps immunization status, with a strong recommendation to get a booster immunization for adults aged 18-60, if they have less than three total mumps vaccinations. Dependents ages 10-59 can also see their primary care manager to see if a booster shot is recommended.
In general, persons with at least one of the following may be considered at lowest risk for contacting mumps:
• Adults born before 1957
• Persons who have written documentation of 3 mumps vaccinations
"The most important treatment is prevention," Fargo said.
For more information on mumps, please visit the State of Hawaii, Department of Health Disease Outbreak Control Division at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/disease_listing/mumps/ and/or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at https://www.cdc.gov/mumps/outbreaks.html.