Mumps Possibly Makes Its Way To Region 8

MAY 9, 2006 -- POSTED AT 9:45 P.M. CDT

JONESBORO, AR -- It all began in the Midwest as the first Mumps Epidemic in 20 years.

Two possible cases hit close to home. An infant and an older adolescent both came to their doctor in Jonesboro this week with common symptoms, expect for the swelling of the salivary gland around the face. This is the main symptom that doctors usually become suspicious about.

“It can be a very serious viral infection, which is why we protect against it,” says Dr. Bryan Harvey, the head pediatrician at Harvey Pediatrics in Jonesboro.

So what is the plan now?

 “We contacted the health department, Dr. Snow in Little Rock , and also Dr. Dick Jacobs at Arkansas Children's Hospital. We talked through the case with them and they also felt that it seemed highly suspicious,” says Dr. Harvey.

For the mumps case to be confirmed however, the health department must run several tests and the results can take anywhere from 5 to 10 days.

“It's been in the news, it's been in the Midwest, and it seems kind of surprising that there might be some cases here. I know Little Rock had some a week and a half ago that were confirmed mumps,” says Dr. Harvey.

The viral infection is highly contagious and can be spread through the air. Mumps can be prevented however, if your child receives a mumps vaccine between the ages of 12 and 15 months.

The mumps vaccine comes in a shot, referred to as the m-m-r shot, made to vaccinate against Mumps, Measles, and Rubella. It's a booster shot that most schools require before starting kindergarten, but you can receive the shot at any age. Everyone at Harvey Pediatrics, including the parents that came in direct contact with the children must be re-vaccinated according to the state health department's regulations.

"Once it's in an area it can start to spread a little bit, so it would be important for patients or parents to just make sure that their child's vaccines are up to date.))

It's made its way here and doctors say the best way to make sure you don't contract mumps is to be prepared.