Health Department Springs into Action as Mumps Outbreak Reported in New Jersey


On Tuesday, the Department of Health in New Jersey announced efforts to contain a recent outbreak of mumps that rapidly affected members of a single family. While the agency provided limited details, health officials indicated that the highly contagious disease had infected eight individuals within a “family cluster” in Hunterdon County. Officials suggested that the initial infection might be linked to recent international travel.

“These viruses are incredibly contagious, so if you suspect you may have measles, mumps, or rubella, it is important to call ahead before visiting any health care provider or facility so they can take special precautions,” acting Health Commissioner Dr. Kaitlan Baston said in a statement.

Mumps outbreaks are infrequent but not unprecedented. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control, there were only 436 reported cases in the United States last year. However, there have been instances, such as in 2016 and 2017, when the number of cases exceeded 6,000 each year. In 2019, Bergen County Jail experienced a mumps outbreak among its inmates, necessitating a quarantine.

Mumps is characterized by swollen cheeks and jaw, accompanied by symptoms like fever, headache, and fatigue. While most individuals recover within two weeks, the illness can lead to severe complications. It is advisable for children to receive two doses of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine, administered at ages 12 to 15 months and again at 4 to 6 years.

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