Iowa State Health Department Continues Aggressive Mumps Investigation

With 605 reported, probable, confirmed and suspect cases of mumps in Iowa, the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) and local Iowa public health agencies, with assistance from the University of Iowa Hygienic Laboratory and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continue to address the current mumps situation in the state.

Since the first report of mumps to IDPH, the state health department has monitored, communicated and educated healthcare providers and the public about the increase in numbers of cases.

Mumps is a viral infection, spread by sneezing, coughing and sharing utensils, cups or other objects that have been in contact with saliva. After exposure, it usually takes two to three weeks for symptoms to appear. Individuals diagnosed with mumps should not go back to school, day care or work for at least five days to prevent the spread of the disease.

Due to the length of time it takes for symptoms to appear, sharing information with other states and with those states with recent mumps activity has been critical. Director Mary Mincer Hansen has been coordinating state and federal activities with Dr. Julie Gerberding, CDC director. The CDC has published articles on the Iowa mumps outbreak in several of its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports (MMWR) that are distributed nationwide. Dr. Patricia Quinlisk, state epidemiologist, continues to lead calls with other state epidemiologists and CDC officials.

Several CDC employees have traveled to Iowa to help with issues such as data review and long-term planning for additional prevention and control measures. Telling Iowans with what they can do to help stop the spread of mumps and how to protect their own health is also being accomplished through various state and local media reports.

Source: Iowa State Health Department