PHOENIX — The Maricopa County Department of Public Health reports that Maricopa County is facing its first community-wide mumps outbreak in decades.
One case was even reported Thursday at La Joya Community High School, according to the Tolleson Union High School District.
"This is the first community-wide mumps outbreak that Maricopa County has seen in decades and serves as a reminder of why it's so important to get vaccinated for diseases that we can prevent," Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine, medical director for disease control at Maricopa County Department of Public Health, said in a press statement to ABC15.
According to the press release, mumps is a highly contagious virus that spreads through saliva, mucus from the mouth, nose or throat.
A person with the mumps virus can spread mumps by sharing:
- Food and drinks
- Eating utensils
- Lip gloss
- Or kissing another person
"A person with mumps is considered contagious 1-2 days before swelling or pain starts, which means a person infected with mumps can spread it to others before they even know they have it," the press release stated.
Symptoms of the mumps include:
- Face swelling, tender salivary glands
- Low-grade fever
- Muscle ache
- Loss of appetite
- Swollen testicles and ovaries
Mumps can also cause meningitis, decreased fertility and even deafness.
If you are facing any of these symptoms, contact your healthcare provider or head to the emergency room.
The TUHSD sent a letter home to parents this week, alerting them to the case at the school and providing information on prevention and symptoms. The district did not confirm if it was a student or staff member that has been infected.
"Many healthcare providers have never seen a patient with mumps, so it is important for everyone to know there is an outbreak. It's OK to ask your provider to test for mumps if you have symptoms," Dr. Sunenshine said.
If you or someone you know are experiencing signs and symptoms of the mumps, visit www.WeArePublicHealth.org or call the Maricopa County Department of Public Health at 602-506-6767.