Health officials declare end of mumps outbreak in Hawaii

HONOLULU (AP) — The statewide outbreak of mumps has ended, Hawaii health officials said.

More than 1,000 people were identified with mumps since the outbreak began in March 2017, stemming from two clusters of cases involving nine people on Oahu, the state Department of Health said Tuesday.

“We are able to declare the outbreak over because there have been no new cases confirmed in the last 50 days, which totals two maximum incubation periods for the illness,” said Dr. Sarah Park, the state epidemiologist.

Symptoms of the contagious disease include fever, headache, tiredness, and swelling of the salivary glands, resulting in a swollen jaw, according to the department. It can also cause complications, especially in adults, leading to meningitis, brain swelling or deafness.

The symptoms usually appear more than two weeks after infection. It spreads through saliva or mucus from an infected person coughing, sneezing, or sharing items like utensil or cups. Most people recover in a few weeks, according to the department.

State health officials recommend that all children receive the routine measles, mumps and rubella vaccine.

“To curb the number of people getting sick, we recommended an additional MMR vaccine dose especially for adolescents and adults,” Park said. “We appreciate the public and our healthcare providers heeding this recommendation and for their vigilance.”

The number of U.S. mumps cases increased significantly to more than 6,000 from 2016 to 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Since the beginning of this year, the other states with unusually high numbers of mumps cases have included Alaska, California, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia.