Officials investigate mumps outbreak after 14 cases are reported in January alone

The Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment issued a mumps advisory Friday.

CHLOE

The Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment issued a mumps advisory Friday after 14 cases of mumps were reported in January.

Of the diagnoses, 11 in Denver and Aurora are being investigated in connection with a larger, nationwide outbreak. The three other confirmed cases are not thought to be connected.

To put this in perspective, throughout all of 2016, 17 total cases were reported in Colorado. And the five-year average rate of diagnosis breaks down to about six cases per year.

In 2016, multiple states reported widespread outbreaks — some reported as many as 100 cases for the year. Washington state has reported as many as 298 likely or confirmed cases since October, ABC News reports.

Officials from CDPHE, Denver Public Health and Tri-County Health Department cautioned that the outbreak may be related the mumps sweeping the nation.

“Because of the high numbers of mumps cases across the country, it is especially important to make sure your children are vaccinated,” Rachel Herlihy, director of the Disease Control and Environmental Epidemiology Division at the CDPHE said in a statement. “Both adults and children should make sure they are up to date on their mumps vaccine.”

Officials are urging anyone born after 1957, except for pregnant women, to check up on their vaccine status, since mumps vaccine immunity can decrease over time.

According to ABC, about two-thirds of those diagnosed in Washington state had been vaccinated.

Mumps is a viral infection that can cause swelling in the cheek and jaw glands, low-grade fever, fatigue, loss of appetite and headache. Serious complications are rare, but can include meningitis.

Symptoms typically appear 16 to 18 days after exposure. The disease is communicable via infected respiratory droplets and saliva, two days before to five days after the onset of glandular swelling.

The health department recommends anyone who thinks they may have mumps to contact their care provider and stay home.

Multimedia business & healthcare reporter Chloe Aiello can be reached via email at caiello@denverite.com or twitter.com/chlobo_ilo.

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