As mumps cases increase in Johnson County, officials push vaccination – KCRG

JOHNSON COUNTY — Health officials in Johnson County say they’ve seen an increase in mumps cases in recent weeks, just as thousands of students begin returning to the University of Iowa.

Doug Beardsley, Director of Johnson County Public Health, said there have been 15 cases of mumps reported in Johnson County in 2015. State disease tracking information suggests most of those reports have come within the last couple of weeks. Typically there are zero to one cases of mumps reported a year in Johnson County, Beardsley said.

“It is unusual,” Beardsley said. “It’s an unnecessary illness.”

Mumps can be prevented with the MMR vaccine, which is administered to most kids in the United States during the first few years of their lives. The MMR vaccination is a requirement for kids in Iowa’s public education system, licensed child care centers and at public universities. Exemptions are granted for religious and health reasons.

Last week the University of Iowa urged students to get up-to-date on their vaccinations before returning to campus after six cases of the mumps were reported among UI students in the past few weeks.

Beardsley said it’s possible for the disease to spread even among people who have been vaccinated.

“Even if you have been vaccinated you should stay away from someone [infected with mumps],” said Beardsley. “The basic message, be up-to-date on vaccinations.”

Mumps is a viral disease that includes fever, muscle pain, headache, tired feeling and swelling of the throat. Symptoms are usually benign, but can last for a couple of weeks.