(RxWiki News) For years, mumps wasn't common in the United States. But that may be changing.
Mumps outbreaks are occurring at the highest rate they have in the last 10 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In past years, mumps cases would range from a couple hundred to a couple thousand each year. Before vaccination, around 186,000 cases were reported annually, although cases were more than likely underreported, according to the CDC.
With vaccinations, the U.S. saw a 99 percent decrease in mumps cases.
But, as of Dec. 3, 2016, preliminary data from the CDC showed that 46 states and the District of Columbia had 4,258 mumps cases. In fact, Arkansas, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York and Oklahoma reported more than 100 cases each in 2016.
In 2006, the US experienced a mumps outbreak that involved multiple states and more than 6,500 cases.
This year, outbreaks appear to be spurring the rise in cases. Close living quarters or other crowded spaces with people who have mumps can contribute to outbreaks.
Several mumps outbreaks have been reported on university campuses, where many students live in crowded or cramped dorm rooms, in the past year. The largest outbreaks reported were in Iowa and Illinois and involved several hundred students.
The virus that causes mumps can also spread through behaviors that involve an exchange of saliva, such as kissing or sharing drinks, utensils or cigarettes. Mumps can be symptomless in some people. In others, it can cause headache, fever, swollen salivary glands, appetite loss and fatigue.
MMR vaccines can prevent most cases of mumps and complications related to the virus.
Speak to your health care provider about ways to prevent mumps and keep you and your family healthy.