Measles and Mumps in Utah: What You Need to Know

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Two cases of mumps have been confirmed among individuals attending the same school, and school officials were notified. County health officials are also looking into four other probable cases that are awaiting test results. In addition, two confirmed measles cases involve a Utah resident who traveled internationally, and a second individual who had contact with the first.

While mumps and measles are different viruses with unique symptoms, both are highly contagious and the same vaccination is used to immunize against both diseases. In both the mumps and measles cases, at least some of the people involved had previously received at least one of the two recommended mumps, measles and rubella (MMR) vaccines. Effectiveness of the vaccine increases significantly with the application of two separate doses. More information about vaccination and immunity is available from the Utah Department of Health: http://health.utah.gov/epi/diseases/measles/.

Mumps Overview

  • Symptoms of mumps include fever, headache, muscle aches, fatigue and swollen, tender salivary glands under both ears. Some people who get mumps have very mild or no symptoms, and often don’t know they have the disease. Most people with mumps recover completely in a few weeks, but in some cases mumps can result in serious complications, including deafness, meningitis or encephalitis.
  • In February 2017, news reports indicated approximately 400 cases of mumps had been reported in Washington. Mumps cases also were reported in other states, including Pennsylvania, Missouri and Texas. However, there is no indication that the new mumps cases in Utah were spread from cases in other states.

Measles Overview  

  • Measles causes fever (101°F or greater) AND a rash. Fever can spike as high as 105°F. Measles rashes are red, blotchy, and typically start on the hairline and face and then spread downwards to the rest of the body.
  • The airborne virus is transmitted by respiratory droplets from coughing or sneezing that spray into the air, and is so contagious that over 90 percent of people in close contact with an infectious person will get the disease if they’re not immunized. Other complications potentially can include ear infections, pneumonia and miscarriage. Although it is rare, measles is still a potentially deadly disease.

RELATED: 5 Things to Know About Measles

What can you do to protect yourself?

The most important thing is to stay current on vaccinations. The MMR vaccine is widely available at your health care provider or local health department. For an immunization appointment, contact your primary care provide or reach out to your local health department or community clinic (Link: http://www.immunize-utah.org/information%20for%20the%20public/locate%20a%20clinic/index.html). In Salt Lake County, immunization appointments through the county health department can be scheduled by calling 385-468-SHOT (7468).

Children should get two doses of the vaccine and adults who may not have been immunized should contact their doctor to see if they need the vaccine. Pregnant women, infants and people with weakened immune systems are most vulnerable.

If you develop symptoms, call your healthcare provider and let them know you may have the measles. It is important that you do not visit a physician’s office, emergency room, lab or any medical clinic without first calling the facility and informing them of your possible exposure to measles. This will enable the facility to take the necessary precautions to protect other individuals from possible exposure.