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Mumps outbreak reported in NJ — the symptoms to watch out for

New Jersey officials are warning residents to stay alert after eight cases of mumps were reported in Hunterdon County, located in the western part of the state.
New Jersey officials are warning residents to stay alert after eight cases of mumps were reported in Hunterdon County, located in the western part of the state.

New Jersey officials are warning residents to stay alert after eight cases of mumps were reported in Hunterdon County, located in the western part of the state.

The outbreak of the “highly contagious” viral illness is confined to one family cluster that has been tied to international travel, the New Jersey Department of Health said Tuesday.

This marks the fourth case in the state so far this year, per the health agency, which didn’t divulge the location of the other three cases or whether they were part of a cluster as well, NJ.com reported.

New Jersey officials are warning residents to stay alert after eight cases of mumps were reported in Hunterdon County, located in the western part of the state. REUTERS
New Jersey officials are warning residents to stay alert after eight cases of mumps were reported in Hunterdon County, located in the western part of the state. REUTERS

Officials are urging New Jersey residents to be aware of the symptoms and to stay up to date with the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine.

Mumps, an infection that mainly affects the glands, has symptoms that include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness and loss of appetite.

As the illness progresses, the patient often experiences swelling on one or both sides of the face, puffy cheeks and a tender, swollen jaw.

Swelling can also affect the brain, testicles, ovaries or breast tissue, leading to complications ranging from brain inflammation to deafness and even infertility.

“As a physician and as a mom, I understand what it is like to try to keep your kids and your family healthy. The best way to keep you and your loved ones safe is to get the MMR shot. If you or your family have not gotten the shot, now is the time,” New Jersey Health Commissioner Dr. Kaitlan Baston said in a statement.

Children are recommended to receive two doses of MMR — with the first dose coming at 12 to 15 months of age and the second dose at 4 to 6 years of age.

Mumps, a virus-caused infection that mainly affects the glands, has symptoms that include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness and loss of appetite. Bettmann Archive
Mumps, a virus-caused infection that mainly affects the glands, has symptoms that include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness and loss of appetite. Bettmann Archive

Teens and adults who have not received two MMR shots or are unaware of their history should contact their health care provider to have their immunity levels checked, especially if they are traveling.

In its Tuesday statement, the New Jersey health department also noted it has already confirmed one case of measles in the state this year.

Reports of measles — another serious airborne disease, which causes a blotchy, red rash — have spiked nationwide. Diagnoses in the US so far this year have nearly reached 2023’s overall total.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 41 measles cases were logged in January and February, compared to 58 for all of last year.

The surge is being attributed to COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns disrupting kids’ vaccination schedules and vaccine hesitancy.

“We know there is a lot of distrust in vaccines, and that’s a shame,” Dr. Katherine Baumgarten, medical director for infection control and prevention at Ochsner Health in New Orleans, Louisiana, told Time magazine last week.

“If vaccination rates continue to decline, then we will see more of the diseases that we had hoped to completely eliminate,” she added.