Health district finds mumps in Mattawa

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MOSES LAKE — The Grant County Health District (GCHD) said it has discovered four cases of mumps among farmworkers in Mattawa.

“Mumps has been confirmed in one person and three more have been classified as probable,” the district said in a press released issued late Monday.

According to the health district, the four farm laborers live in “farmworker housing units in the Mattawa community.” The district is investigating the outbreak and is making steps to reduce the spread of the disease, and health officials are advising everyone to make sure they are properly vaccinated, according to the news release.

“To reduce the risk of becoming ill, everyone should be sure they are fully vaccinated against mumps with the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine,” Alexander Brzezny, Grant County Health Officer, said. “If you or your child develops symptoms of mumps, please contact your healthcare provider, stay at home and wear a mask when needed to leave your house to see your doctor, even if you have been vaccinated.”

Investigation of infectious diseases is one of the health district’s essential services, and public health nurses will continue to identify and investigate any additional cases of mumps, the district said.

The state was swept by a mumps epidemic beginning in late 2017 through early 2018, with the Columbia Basin Job Corps center being hit exceptionally hard.

According to the health district, mumps is a viral disease that typically starts with a few days of fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and a loss of appetite. However, mumps is best known for the facial and jaw swelling, and can be spread by coughing, sneezing, or spraying saliva while talking, as well as the sharing of cups or eating utensils, and by touching objects or surfaces with unwashed hands that are then touched by others.

“Symptoms may appear 12-25 days after exposure, usually 16- 18 days after exposure. Mumps usually goes away on its own in about 10 days,” the district said. “But in some cases, it can cause complications that affect the brain, the testicles, the ovaries, or the pancreas.”

Children under the age of one and those who have not been vaccinated are at greatest risk for contracting the mumps, according to the district.

Charles H. Featherstone can be reached via email at cfeatherstone@columbiabasinherald.com.

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