Possible mumps outbreak probed in Monmouth County

September 6, 2013 10:39:05 AM PDT
Health officials in Monmouth County, New Jersey, are investigating 22 possible mumps cases.

Mumps-like symptoms have surfaced in recent days. They include the swelling of salivary glands along with fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness and loss of appetite.

Officials are trying to determine the possible source of infection.

The health department says mumps is spread by droplets of saliva or mucus, usually when the infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.

The virus can also be spread to those who share items used by the infected person, such as cups.

Health officials say 20 of the possible cases are adults, and 21 of the 22 infected people have been either a patron or an employee of D'Jais in Belmar in the last several weeks.

"The medical professionals advised these individuals to be on bed rest, increase their fluid intake and take steps to reduce their fever," said County public health coordinator Michael Meddis.

D'Jais said it would not be open on Friday and Saturday as a precaution and out of concern for its employees and the public.

People who were vaccinated with the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine, as an infant and again between the ages of 4 and 6, are 90 percent less likely to contract mumps, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

If you have mumps, or most other illnesses, there are several things you can do to help prevent spreading the virus to others:

  • Wash hands well and often with soap, and teach children to wash their hands too.

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and put your used tissue in the trash can. If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands.

  • Stay home from work or school for five days after your glands begin to swell, and try not to have close contact with other people who live in your house.

    Other recommendations are:

  • Minimize close contact with other people, especially babies and people with weakened immune systems who cannot be vaccinated.

  • Don't share drinks or eating utensils.

  • Regularly clean surfaces that are frequently touched (such as toys, doorknobs, tables, counters) with soap and water or with cleaning wipes.

    More information about mumps is available from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website at http://www.cdc.gov/mumps/index.html