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Mumps outbreak confirmed in Mattawa, north of Tri-Cities

What is mumps and how does it spread?

Although vaccines have nearly eliminated this once common childhood disease in the U.S., mumps is still a concern throughout much of the undeveloped world, and has had several recent outbreaks stateside. Carrie Bohenick, MD, a pediatrician at Akro
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Although vaccines have nearly eliminated this once common childhood disease in the U.S., mumps is still a concern throughout much of the undeveloped world, and has had several recent outbreaks stateside. Carrie Bohenick, MD, a pediatrician at Akro

Four cases of mumps have been diagnosed in people living in farmworker housing in Mattawa, according to the Grant County Health Department.

One case has been confirmed and three others are considered probable.

The disease can be prevented with the same vaccine that prevents measles, the MMR vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella.

The mumps virus is mostly spread by coughing, sneezing or other contact with saliva from someone who is infected, according to the Washington State Department of Health.

Those infected with mumps usually are contagious for a few days before and after symptoms appear.

Symptoms include, fever, headache, muscle aches and loss of appetite. Its most distinctive symptom is swelling of the cheeks, neck or jaw.

Potential complications include hearing loss and brain damage, with adults more likely than children to become very sick with mumps.

The state of Washington had an outbreak of mumps from fall 2016 to 2017, with 891 cases reported, including six in Benton County.

Senior staff writer Annette Cary covers Hanford, energy, the environment, science and health for the Tri-City Herald. She’s been a news reporter for more than 30 years in the Pacific Northwest.
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