Spokane Regional Health District and Whitworth University announced Wednesday that three students have been diagnosed with mumps.
The first case occurred when one of the students was exposed to mumps while traveling outside the U.S. The other two cases were contracted through close contact with that first student. All three students were fully immunized against the mumps.
The three students are not contagious anymore and were in isolation while symptomatic. The health district says they’re monitoring anyone the three students may have had close contact with to make sure they don’t have symptoms. Whitworth University officials sent notifications to all other students and families. To date, there are no other known or suspected cases of mumps among the Whitworth community. The risk to Spokane’s general population is low.
“Although we hope to contain this to just three cases, mumps is spread from person to person when in close contact with each other,” said Dr. Joel McCullough, SRHD interim health officer. “We urge individuals to make sure that they and their loved ones are up to date on the MMR vaccine.”
Mumps is spread through saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose, or throat. An infected person can spread the virus by:
• Coughing, sneezing, or talking.
• Sharing items, such as cups or eating utensils, with others.
• Touching objects or surfaces with unwashed hands that are then touched by others.
The infectious period of mumps is three days before, to five days after, the onset of salivary gland swelling. Other common symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite.
Officials from the health district and Whitworth University advise students, faculty, or staff who experience mumps symptoms to seek medical care, either through Whitworth Student Health & Counseling Center at (509) 777-3259 or other healthcare provider.
Spokane County’s last confirmed mumps case was in 2009. In 2015, Washington confirmed seven cases of mumps statewide.
You can find more information on mumps SRHD here from Whitworth University here and from the CDC here.