LOS ANGELES - Amid an increasing number of mumps cases reported in Los Angeles County, the Department of Public Health on Wednesday urged residents to be alert for any sign of the disease in their community and to take steps to protect themselves."At least nine cases of mumps have already been reported in Los Angeles County this year, six of which have been confirmed," said Jonathan Fielding, MD, director of public health for Los Angeles County. "By comparison, seven cases were confirmed countywide in all of 2009, seven in 2008 and five in 2007." Four of the confirmed cases have occurred in the past two months and may be related to the multi-state mumps outbreak affecting the Hasidic Jewish population that was first seen in the country on the East Coast. Specifically, cases of mumps have been detected in congregate settings such as schools, colleges and community centers. Mumps is a viral illness that is transmitted by coughing and sneezing. Symptoms begin 12 to 25 days after exposure, and include swelling of salivary glands, fever and inflammation of the testes in teenage and adult males. Up to 20 percent of infected individuals may be asymptomatic, health officials said. Symptoms tend to decrease after one week and usually go away after 10 days, but in some cases the illness can cause severe symptoms that include inflammation of the testicles, meningitis and encephalitis. "The best protection against the mumps is to make sure that you receive the measles-mumps-rubella vaccination," Fielding said. "If you develop mumps symptoms, avoid congregate settings where you could spread the disease to others, and contact your doctor immediately." For more information, contact the county's Health Line by dialing 211.
********** Published: May 14, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 4