Case of mumps confirmed in Gallatin County

Posted at 5:20 PM, Apr 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-12 19:20:47-04

A Montana State University student has been diagnosed with mumps, according to a press release from the Gallatin City-County Health Department.

No other cases of the viral infection have been detected as of Thursday afternoon. The GCCHD said in its press release that public health officials are working to limit the risk of additional cases.

Health officials believe the risks of transmission of the disease are reduced because the person diagnosed with mumps lives off campus and has a limited number of close contacts. 

The Gallatin City-County Health Department is working closely with MSU University Health Partners medical staff, as well as health care providers and partners at the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, to identify those most at risk for contracting mumps and to implement infection control measures recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC).

It is important for MSU students and staff and the community at large to know that most people have significant protection against mumps through childhood immunizations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and required by MSU and schools in most states.

While mumps does have some serious but rare potential health effects, the risk of these outcomes is significantly reduced by the vaccine and infection control precautions being pursued by the health department and MSU. 

“The best thing that we can do to protect ourselves against mumps is to be vaccinated,” said Matt Kelley, Health Officer with Gallatin City-County Health Department. “Mumps can be a serious disease, but vaccines and infection control measures have made the most serious side effects exceedingly rare.”

Mumps is a viral disease characterized by swelling of the parotid or salivary glands along the face, neck and jaw. The swelling can last from two to ten days. The incubation period (time from when you were infected to when you have symptoms) is 12-25 days. Other symptoms, in addition to the swelling around the neck and jaw, include fever, malaise (tiredness), muscle aches and headache. Up to 25% of people with mumps may have few or no symptoms.

People who may have been exposed and who develop swelling along the face and neck along with a fever are urged to stay home from work, school, sports and all public gatherings for five days after symptoms start. They should also seek medical care to be properly diagnosed. There is no cure for mumps, but the vast majority of those infected recover with bed rest, fluids, and fever reduction measures.

Mumps is spread by droplets of saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose, or throat of an infected person. Saliva can pass from one person to another when they share straws, spoons, forks, cups, cans, bottles and even lip gloss. Mumps is also commonly spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes, and a non-infected person inhales respiratory droplets that contain the virus.

The Gallatin City-County Health Department is working to identify and monitor close contacts of the person diagnosed with mumps in order to detect new cases early and prevent additional cases. The Health Department will be contacting those close contacts to provide information and health care guidance. In most cases, people who are most susceptible to mumps are those who have not been vaccinated against the disease.

MSU students who suspect that they might have mumps should contact University Health Partners Medical Services at 406-994-2311. Faculty and staff should contact their family health care provider if they experience symptoms similar to the mumps.  Anyone in the community can also contact Gallatin CityCounty Health Department at 582-3100 for additional information or questions. 

Additional information related to mumps can be found on the Centers for Disease Control website.