(RxWiki News) As other parts of the country face situations involving limited measles exposures, New Jersey is now investigating probable cases of a disease that shares the same vaccine — mumps.
This contagious disease can be prevented by the same vaccine that protects against measles — the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine.
According to the Monmouth County Health Department (MCHD), 22 probable mumps cases are now being investigated in Monmouth County, New Jersey.
Authorities are reminding people about vaccinations and encouraging the mumps patients to take steps to stop the spread.
"Cough or sneeze into a tissue, not your hands."
MCHD reported that 21 of the patients are adults, the majority of whom have been an employee of or visitor to a bar and grill called D'Jais within the last several weeks. The establishment is located in Belmar, New Jersey. The remaining patient is a child of pre-school age.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most people with mumps recover fully, but it can occasionally cause serious complications, including encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), orchitis (inflammation of the testicles), oophoritis (inflammation of the ovaries) and deafness.
"Mumps is spread by droplets of saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose, or throat of an infected person, usually when the person coughs, sneezes or talks," explained CDC. Items like drinking cups can also be contaminated and may spread the virus if shared.
MCHD requested that anyone who experiences symptoms of mumps — most noticeably swelling of the salivary glands with other symptoms like fever, headache, muscle aches, fatigue or loss of appetite — contact the health department and seek medical care.
In a statement released by MCHD, Michael Meddis, Public Health Coordinator for Monmouth County, noted that this is an ongoing investigation that will continue as new cases come forward. Authorities are attempting to discover the source of the outbreak and identify close personal contacts of ill patients who might be at risk for developing mumps themselves.
In the meantime MCHD encouraged ill patients to take care.
“The medical professionals advised these individuals to be on bed rest, increase their fluid intake and take steps to reduce their fever,” said Meddis.
MCHD recommended that people with the mumps stay home from work, try to avoid close contact with others (especially those with compromised immune systems), wash their hands often, clean surfaces in their homes and avoid sharing drinks or eating utensils with others.
According to CDC, the spread of the disease probably occurs before the salivary glands start to swell and within five days from the time the swelling starts. CDC recommends mumps patients be isolated for five days following the onset of swelling.